Writer / Aaron Tevebaugh- Avon Town Council President
As the months fly by and I come closer to the end of my first term in office, I seem to be fielding more inquiries about the work that’s done at the town level and what recent accomplishments stand out to me. Though I have learned so much and enjoyed all my experiences over the last four years, there are a few that stand out over the others.
When I came into office in 2015, the Avon Police Department was grossly understaffed and had suffered several years of mismanagement which left them operating behind the other agencies throughout the county. After the new leadership was put into place in 2014, Chief Sean Stoops and Assistant Chief Brian Nugent knew their staffing was going to be one of their biggest challenges moving forward. One of my first priorities was to begin increasing the staffing of the police department to ensure our officers had the proper assistance to keep themselves and the citizens safe. Over the last three years, I have fought for additional staffing in our police department and am proud to report we are now up six officers from this time in 2014. In addition, the morale of the police department seems to be at an all-time high. But don’t take my word for it, just ask any of them about their thoughts.
In addition to the staffing issue, I also found the police department was in need of a better way to handle the constant donations that were being made from various businesses and citizens eager to support the officers. Though this is an excellent problem to have, mixing the monies with the town revenues didn’t seem to be an efficient way to operate. I was lucky to find a group of volunteers who were excited to support the heroes in their community and the Avon Public Safety Foundation was created. In addition to supporting the Avon Police Department, the foundation would also go on to partner with the Washington Township Fire Department and would accept and distribute donations for both agencies.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the construction project I am most proud of during my time on the council, the Avon Avenue Bridge. This is a project that was 20 years in the making and cost approximately $15M. I have to smile every time I get the opportunity to drive over it because I know that no one will ever sit in traffic waiting for a train in the Town of Avon ever again. I know how inconvenient it was to wait on the trains because I would get stuck there on a regular basis. The traffic delays were a major source of complaints on social media. Needless to say, it was great to see the bridge finally open last November. In addition, we were able to add a trail to the east side of the bridge and extend the overall connectivity of our community. It’s amazing to see all of the bicycle traffic generated by the trail.
The absolute best part of serving as the Avon Town Council President is the opportunity to serve as the ceremonial figure for the town. In May of 2017, the Avon Police Department dedicated their building to Indiana State Trooper Robert Lather. Trooper Lather lost his life in the line of duty during a vehicle pursuit in 1982. It was an absolute honor to read the proclamation dedicated to Trooper Lather before a standing room only crowd in Avon Town Hall and then provide a copy of the proclamation to Trooper Lather’s family. There is also a memorial to Trooper Lather at the front door of the Avon Police Department that celebrates his life and pays homage to his ultimate sacrifice.
If I am lucky enough to be re-elected by the citizens of Avon this November I would spend my second term focusing on the strategic economic development of the town. This year we hired a full-time economic development director who has been tasked with bringing the vision of Avon’s future to fruition. With open space for development on both County Roads 200 North and 100 South, we must be prepared to ensure an effective plan is in place to secure future interest. In addition, we have recently started to see the adaptation many retail outlets are making to compete with the constantly expanding e-commerce industry. Unfortunately, some retail corporations make the decision to close up shop. Because of this, we need to develop a retail marketing strategy and identify specific businesses for us to target that Avon residents desire to have in the community.
Overall, I believe we have had a great four years of productivity at the Town of Avon. I am excited to see this year’s edition of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live in the United States and hope Avon can top the 2017 ranking of 17th.
Aaron Tevebaugh is the President of the Avon Town Council as well as a Leadership and Organizational Development Advisor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.