New Fishers Board Seeks Input on $2.5 Million Fund
After a four-year fight by the Geist United Opposition, the unincorporated areas on the north half of Geist Reservoir officially became the Town of Fishers’ newest residents on January 1, 2010. A new voting district was formed to give these residents a voice on the seven-person Fishers Town Council and Pete Peterson, the former leader of the anti-annexation movement, won the seat in the November election. Furthering Fishers’ olive branch to the residents, the Fishers Town Council set aside an impoundment fund of $2.5 million for the newly annexed residents to spend on local improvements. A volunteer board of Geist residents will get to work on how to best utilize this fund, and they need input.
The Geist Impoundment Board is comprised of two individuals from each of the three annexed sections, along with three “at large” residents. The nine men and women went through an application process and were selected by the town council after a round of interviews. The Geist Impoundment Board is comprised of the following residents: Mark Jones, Jack Kowal, Jeff Lantz, Rachel Quade, Gary Batesole, Russell Bruce, Roger Kessler, Brad Johnson, and Anthony Najem.
While the council refrained from questioning the individuals’ personal opinions on the Geist annexation, the resulting selections were a mixed bag of pro- and anti-annexation residents. Rachel Quade, a member of the Geist Impoundment Board and former Geist United Opposition board member, commented, “I think it actually says a lot about the [Fishers] Council members in that they put some of the people who were involved in the Geist United Opposition on this board. I think it’s a good sign.” A diversity of opinions about the annexation will certainly be fertile ground for a lot of great ideas for the future.
The Geist Impoundment Fund was endowed through property taxes from the residents in the annexed areas and earmarked for capital improvement projects. “It’s a proxy fund that will be paid over three years. In two more years it should be a total of $2.5 million,” said Scott Faultless, Town Council President.
Their first order of business is to gather the opinions of their Geist constituents and flush out the best ideas. After they have selected the best projects, they will present them to the Fishers Town Council along with a cost analysis. The council will then decide if the project should be carried out or not, limited only by budget.
“The board will be active for the next three years, although residents can expect to see results much sooner than that,” said new Fishers Town Council member Pete Peterson. He insisted the Geist Impoundment Board could turn an idea around in just a few months if it hit all the right notes.
Several projects are already being considered for the next few years, including:
- Fire Station 96 renovations
- New park at 101st and Cyntheane Road
- Roundabout at Brooks School Road and Fall Creek Road (scheduled to begin early this year)
- Roundabout at 106th and Geist Road (scheduled for 2013)
- Widening of 113th Street east of Olio
- Sidewalk along 96th Street from the Indianapolis Yacht Club to the entrance of Cambridge
To zero in on the best projects, the Geist Impoundment Fund Board will be polling their neighbors. The board will study all the different suggestions and consider them based on probability and how broadly they will benefit the community. The board could decide to use all of the money for a big project or spread the budget out across multiple projects.
Of the individuals interviewed, Peterson thought the watershed and water quality of Geist could use some attention. Blue green algae has been a persistent problem on Geist Reservoir. Faultless mused on the many ideas available; from intersection improvements to public reservoir access and pathways. Quade was also interested in walking paths and public parks. The possibilities are endless and citizens should see this as an exciting time to have their voices heard.
“Now that we are formally a part of Fishers, we have a voice, and a place to bring our voices to,” said Peterson.
This board has a large responsibility ahead of them. Their hard work could greatly affect the community and these dedicated citizens are certainly energized by the challenge. But the first step is starting the discussion on exactly what the area needs. Citizens can got to www.TownePost.com to start giving their suggestions and letting their voices be heard. Don’t hesitate to have a hand in shaping Fisher’s future!