Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Change is Coming

“You are unlike most of the towns that I talk in. You are going to be going through a tremendous growth spurt and have to figure out for yourself what you want to be.” I was in Mooresville, IN (population 9,273) at their annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet doing my Boomtown talk.

The statistics on Mooresville and Morgan County (population 69,778) were outstanding. They had good growth in population, a population 10% below the national average, great educational levels, excellent income stats and poverty levels half of the national average. The only statistic that concerned me, as I studied them, was that 60% of their residents worked somewhere else.

During my tour of the town, I learned of several major projects that are going to transform Mooresville and the county. New I-69 from Detroit to Houston will cut diagonally across the SE portion of the county. A new outer interstate loop around Indianapolis would hook up with I-69 cutting drive time to Honda’s new Greensburg, IN plant from 1 ½ hours to about 30 minutes. A group out of Carmel, IN has purchased 2,000 acres of land for a 1,300 home high end ($400,000 to $6 million range) development and an Indianapolis industrial developer is planning a 480 acre industrial park NE of Mooresville.

Mooresville is midway between Indianapolis and Bloomington which results in a lot of life science couples working at companies like Eli Lilly or Cook Group or teaching at one of the many universities in central Indiana and explains why the community has such a large percentage of workers who are commuting out. The new developments that are planned will only increase that percentage, unless the community determines their own direction.

From what I saw, they’ve got some tremendous resources. With a bit of planning, strategic direction and cooperation they could establish themselves as a premier place to live and work, hopefully creating some very unique opportunities for their young people.

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