Writer / Andi Robinson
Before we talk about the future of Center Grove, we need ask an important question: What is Center Grove? It is not a town or city. It does not show up on anyone’s mailing address. It is definitely a school district. But even Center Grove Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Richard Arkanoff says that there is more to Center Grove.
“Center Grove is more than just the school district. It is a community that is a great place to live and to raise a family,” he said. “The community is very supportive of the goals and dreams of the people in it.”
Many people identify with the area of Center Grove above and beyond the school district. Most of the area of Center Grove is technically unincorporated White River Township. But there are also overlaps with the city of Greenwood as well as the town of Bargersville.
According to White River Township Trustee Mark Messick, three different bodies govern township residents, depending on where they live. The town of Bargersville governs residents to the southeast of the township borders; Greenwood governs residents to the northeast, and Johnson County governs the remainder. Messick, as the trustee, acts as a liaison with the other governmental bodies. The township is responsible for administering welfare assistance, taking care of abandoned cemeteries, establishing weed-control policies and creating and administering the township budget.
The unincorporated portions of White River Township are home to approximately 30,000 people, which is large by the standards of most municipalities. If you include the entire township, the number is more than 40,000. For reference, in 2013 the town of Zionsville had 25,115 residents, the city of Greenwood had 53,655 residents and the town of Bargersville had 6,409 residents. Between 2000 and 2010, the township grew by more than 18 percent.
So what does the future hold for the residents of “Center Grove?” There have been a number of new developments in recent years, and there is still room for growth. There have been several apartment complexes and independent-living facilities built, which increases the number of residents in need of services such as police, fire and utilities. Local medical facilities are taking notice and building more local medical complexes. There are a number of new churches, and you can see the growth in new restaurants and other retail outlets, as well. There has also been an increase in the number of banks and restaurants.
An upcoming issue is the extension of I-69 between Martinsville and Indianapolis, which is slated to be built along the current State Road 37 corridor and completed between 2022 and 2027. While the development will cause a number of residents to lose their homes and businesses to relocate, it will also bring commercial development along the route.
The city of Greenwood, under the current laws, can annex parts of the area as it has done to the west of State Road 135. It could annex the retail areas along Smith Valley Road, west to State Road 37, as well as the east-west corridors of Whiteland Road and County Road 144. This would leave the residents that live in this area as residents of unincorporated White River Township, while Greenwood would collect retail taxes from the businesses.
Growth and development in this area is not set to decline any time soon.
According to Messick, “We are booming again. White River Township is one of the fastest growing areas in Central Indiana as far as residential homes being built.”
With more people comes more business, so stay tuned for more people and more congestion in the Center Grove area.