This has gotten VERY long and comprehensive and I will continue to add to it as I speak to more of our community members. YOU, from all party affiliations, are my inspiration for this platform. I know this won't all happen overnight, however, this is my wishlist for our town and I think it's good.
My entire career and life mission is to create wellness and well-being within our minds, bodies, and community. I want to build a sustainable and accessible community that goes beyond political party lines and includes republicans, democrats, independents, libertarians, and anyone who wants to keep politics out of it and just do things right.
My four main goals:
1. Note, before you read this, the town and the county are sitting on plenty of money to make these happen without increasing taxes. The council just needs to prioritize the current residents more. We need to make all public spaces and downtown businesses safer and more accessible. We need to be able to get to parks and businesses, safely, quickly, and logically, by foot, bike, chair, or other mobility aids. Our parks NEED better access and better sun protection, especially Kephart.
This does NOT mean a sidewalk in everyone's yards, but it will mean some sidewalks in some places, more trails, more bike lanes, some lower speed limits, and more crosswalks.
This goal can be achieved by working to add smart infrastructure NOW, before we add more homes and businesses. Let's ease traffic issues with wider lanes, better-timed lights, and roundabouts before we bring in Meijer and other commercial companies we don't "need" right now.
2. We need more transparency within our local government. We need to allow our community members access to administrative meetings that make these decisions via zoom, YouTube Live, recordings, etc., and let our voices be heard before decisions negatively affect homes, subdivisions, and already busy intersections. The job of council members is to serve US, not builders.
3. We need to have a town council that represents and better listens to ALL of us, not just one party backed by big money and not just one socioeconomic group or demographic. No party should ever have a super majority and no party should have ZERO representation like we do now. Our current town council does not represent our growing community well. Yes, I am in the minority as a blue dog democrat, but I am logical and creative, and I use the same spaces as you and I want it to make more sense for US.
4. Our town employees, especially our police, need to be able to afford to live here if they want to. We cannot expect people to spend their time away from their families, serving us, maybe dying for us, and not allow them the opportunity to be our neighbors. Our team of town employees need to be paid enough to live here.
I have a servant's heart. I have literally and physically been caring for serving our community and the public for over 20 years with my career and community service projects. I have heard the concerns and the complaints that are falling on deaf ears. Let me hear you and make the elected officials serve you better. Let me be the one to cross party lines and make our tax dollars work better for us, our families, and our friends. In a post-pandemic economy, we are using our public spaces more, and therefore our tax dollars need to be spent differently. We are more active on foot and bike/mobility aid. Yes, we may have an average of 2.1 cars, but we also have the desire to leave the car(s) at home and enjoy the more pleasant midwestern seasons we have been having.
You won't agree with everything I say, I don't even agree with everything my business partner and husband say, but I nearly guarantee you'll agree with a good chunk of this platform. One example is that our cops cannot afford to live in our community and we need to pay them better. Many of you want more police presence like we once felt we had, so let's make that happen!
Finally, before we get into the weeds, I want to redefine and expand on what Hoosier Hospitality means for Bargersville residents and our visitors. Please note that I have been adding things as I go and the newer additions will be on the top in bullet points!
Sit back, get cozy, and be ready to read! I welcome any and all feedback and I am happy to have a conversation about potential amendments and additions!
- Hoosier Hospitality should mean freedom to thrive in the Hoosier state, especially Bargersville! The freedom of true liberty. The freedom in the Hoosier state and Bargersville to access our community regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation be it foot, chair, cane, walker, bike, scooter, golf cart, car, etc. Additionally, let's start working with the state and surrounding counties to use the railroad to our advantage. Part of our history is that rail line, so why not add a commuter option to get people to and from BVille? That line gets used twice a day, we should capitalize on the empty line as much as possible!
- Hoosier hospitality in how the town interacts with us, especially how the zoning/ordinances are enforced. When new residents move in, they need to KNOW where to look up ordinances and who to contact BEFORE they do work around their home. Often, residents are getting letters about ordinances/rules being broken when they truly have no clue they were breaking them! ADD THIS INFORMATION TO THE NEWSLETTERS WE GET! When they send out IMPA letters and such, add this. Every time. By offering up this information it is on the homeowner to ignore, and then it is truly their "fault." The amount of paper and postage being wasted on these letters can also be lessened. Let's start with a phone call or email to the resident then escalate as needed. This will help us better spend our tax dollars.
- Hoosier Hospitality in connecting existing communities to downtown! We need a trail to connect the BVille homes along 144 and 135 in the Country Meadows subdivision and around to get to 135 and 144. Those speed limits are so high and there is far too much traffic. Let's connect our neighbors to the downtown area and beyond!
- Hoosier hospitality in welcoming all visitors to our businesses. ALL commercial entrances, regardless of the age of the buildings need to have ADA-compatible entrances at the land/property owner's expense no later than 2025. We are neglecting a large portion of the population by not making this something that the town shows care for.
- Hoosier hospitality in the ease of access to our community spaces in motor vehicles. Any new expansions to roadways or commercial businesses and buildings need to install roundabouts; NO NEW STOP LIGHTS! We have enough trouble as it is with traffic, if, for example, Meijer, wants to build in BVille, they install roundabouts regardless of what INDOT recommends. Let's set a standard of logic and movement of traffic. Stop lights are not only annoying and outdated, they unnecessarily use the energy we don't need, and stopped cars add to the overall emissions of the town.
- Hoosier hospitality in how we interact with our environment and help lessen the burden on our water treatment facility. When businesses have events, particularly open houses, and ribbon cuttings, only biodegradable balloons and confetti are to be used.
There is currently no ordinance stating that businesses MUST be aware of the environmental impact of their festivals and festivities. Furthermore, the Farmer's Market and festival booths need to be held better accountable for the waste they are leaving behind the single-use items they are using, and the materials used in goods being sold. If the town emphasizes care in materials being used in all outdoor spaces, it will start to spread positively to the surrounding cities.
ALL new buildings and homes need to have windows that protect birds by preventing them from flying into them and injuring/killing them.
- Hoosier hospitality should be offered by way of more comfort to those visiting our parks. Let's add more shade/sunshades in our parks! Another thing we need to consider with the parks, especially Kephart, is the environment. We need to ensure that while parties and fun can be had it isn't at the expense of wildlife and the environment. The frequency at which families are using water balloons at the park is astounding and it is VERY bad for waterways, birds, children, and the environment in general. I would propose adding signage and verbiage to contracts for the shelters that NO water balloons are allowed on park property and only biodegradable balloons are allowed in the parks. We have to protect our local ecosystems! Let's require our park visitors to be hospitable to others and the environment.
- Things that can easily be improved to improve the quality of life for all Bargersville residents and visitors would improve infrastructure (widening roads, adding roundabouts, etc.) BEFORE new buildings and homes/apartments/subdivisions go in. Adding new architecture before road improvements is silly and wasteful. This can help prevent traffic issues.
- Hoosier hospitality in supporting our farmers, increasing the agricultural appearance, and helping out the environment and ecosystems. I would like to see all new (to start) commercial and residential buildings need to have ordinances stating that grass is not to be used for landscaping. Zero-scaping/xeriscaping, native perennial/sustainable plants, etc. only. This helps our crops, stormwater, well water, etc. I also plan to engage the community and plant 2,000 trees over the next four years. Long term, I want native canopy trees lining the trails and 144 as well as eliminating all grass that BVille maintains and instead planting native perennial flowers and plants. We want to keep our ag roots and this will assist in that while we grow!
- Transparency of boards and public notice of council member meetings that concern the public need to be mandatory. When administrative meetings happen without public knowledge or access, it defeats the entire purpose. The town should at least give the public the option to voice concerns and input before scheduled meetings. We all assume decisions are already made prior to any town board meeting. It is human nature to do so. Additionally, minutes should be more easily accessible without needing Adobe or another downloaded/paid app to view them.
- Hoosier Hospitality in honoring our history. We need more information/signage honoring the native/indigenous land we are on. Too little public information is included on historical markers, the town website, etc. about the land that was theirs.
- Hoosier hospitality in how we welcome residents and visitors. This is not a statement claiming I know how the entire town feels about any group(s) of people, this is a general point of leading the way for our state. Bargersville can be trailblazers in lots of ways! We cannot lead people if we do not honor and recognize them. We MUST see our community members (fellow taxpayers) and visitors as equals, as humans, as neighbors. Let's ensure they thrive with the freedom to love and live in a manner that feels safe for them. Ordinances, special resolution(s), and proclamation(s) acknowledging and celebrating Juneteenth, Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Pride Month each year need to be added to our town ordinance lists. Excluding support for the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities is unkind (I am not saying this is being done intentionally). Johnson County and Southsiders have a reputation (again, not everyone but we cannot argue our reputation) for being exclusive of members of the global majority and Bargersville should lead the way in changing that. We should also be encouraging and actively seeking out [small] businesses owned by BIPOC, First Nations, LGBTQIA+, and immigrant community members.
This doesn't have to cost money or be anything more than social media posts acknowledging these months and days and presenting our town as an ally to show that we see and accept them as they are.
- Additionally, we need a comprehensive ordinance that criminalizes hate crimes. Our state needs to do better with its laws and Bargersville should lead the way in addressing that
We have some outstanding growth that has and will happen in Bargersville. If you are still reading this (thanks!), you already know we are one of the fastest growing cities in the state by population but also for economic possibilities.
I should preface this by stating that I have left voicemails and sent emails attempting to inquire about the things I would like to have changed. I adore, respect, and enjoy the company of the current town council and staff very much as the people who signed the documents in 2015 to make Vision 2040. I do not claim to be perfect or that I know all of the ins and outs, but I believe that physically using the space we call Downtown Bargersville as a resident and business owner on a daily basis for nearly four years, not just to drive to and partake in meetings and events, has given me a very different perspective on the Vision 2040 Comprehensive Plan and its execution.
It's also worth noting that the way we use our shared spaces has drastically changed since the pandemic hit. We, humans, generally seem to be moving more and outside more which I believe to be a good thing! This is not something the 2040 vision could have expected, I know I didn't add it into our business plan when we opened in 2019!I also believe that I am the target audience for the changes happening now and in the future. I am an active working mother with an active toddler. I would bet that most people moving here have or plan to have a family.
You can see the complete 2040 plan here
I also want to state that I NEVER wanted to get into politics but complaining about things I want changed and trying to change them are different. If my running for town council spurs any sort of logical change for the connectivity of downtown Bargersville and how things are planned in the future, then I will consider this campaign and website a success.
I will start with parking.
Yes, we need more parking, but one way to eliminate the need for more parking is to make it easier for those of us who live in downtown Bargersville, or close enough to walk/bike to it and to get to Main Street and the local businesses without the need for a car! The Vision 2040 plan COMPLETELY neglected improving accessibility to the trails and now missing/dilapidated sidewalks in the downtown area!
WHY DO WE STILL FOCUS ON PARKING? If we want a modern, healthy, and active community, getting outside safely is one way to promote that!
So this is my main goal. I want to figure out how we make Bargersville more accessible for pedestrians on foot, bike, mobility aid, etc. We have some fantastic sidewalks and trails but there are some areas that are completely cut off of the amenities the trails and sidewalks lead to and we all know Larry and his housemates have no ability to drive. People use these streets and need safe sidewalks.
I propose adding a section of trail (not sidewalk, trail) that connects Schoolhouse to the existing crosswalk at Nichols Station. I would like more signage before the crosswalk and speed bumps (hear me out) on both sides of the crosswalk. I would also propose lowering the speed limit sooner (before Saddle Club/new housing; ideally by the Morgantown intersection) and adding more signs about the existing crosswalks and the fact that, BY LAW, pedestrians have the right of way. The crosswalk lights should also be red and not yellow going forward.
Lowering the speed limit along the heavily residential areas of 144 can also help reduce the amount of traffic accidents/decrease the opportunity for traffic accidents which can take some pressure off of our police and fire forces.
The current crosswalk at Nichols Station has amazing flashing lights but cars rarely stop when they're in use. At least once a day, I am in three different crosswalks two times each, and more than 80% of the time, cars don't stop. I often have my daughter with me in her stroller and our dog when I am in/waiting at these crosswalks. I have nearly seen it on a daily basis while I am IN crosswalks, three times by town employees in town vehicles.
Additionally, crosswalks need to be added at Sawyer Walk (new M/I subdivision) and to Saddle Club where the people on the west side of Saddle Club can access the trail. The trail also needs to be widened along Whiteland Road leading to CVS. Sections are VERY small sidewalks that aren't great (or safe) for bikes.
A sign that states there is a three-way stop at 144 and Main would also be ideal and I have heard many other people request that. If you have told me you want something changed, it WILL be added to this list.
*It is worth noting that the crosswalks on Main Street and Plummer Avenue have been repainted as of July 5 AND two signs have been installed on Main Street! YAY! Thank you, BVille!
The current signs and measures to alert drivers that these crosswalks are there and that pedestrians have the right of way are still lacking. This has also made walking into Coffeehouse Five more dangerous on Plummer as cars rarely stop for people there and most of these people don't use a wheelchair or mobility aid. Imagine trying to cross when you really could use extra time and safety to get where you planned to go because you have crutches or other mobility aids.
I think crosswalks need to be added at all intersections along Harriman and the intersecting north and south streets, speed limits need to be reduced all through downtown and to Old South Street, and speed bumps added to include, but not limited to Harriman, Indiana, Plummer, ALL 90-degree turning roads (North and Indiana Streets), 144/Old Plank needs better signage about blind driveways over the hill headed northwest off of 135 and into town, speed bumps and lower speed limit to allow residents to enter and exit their driveways, get their mail, or cross the street. Canvassing that area was a total nightmare and many residents had the same ideas.
To ensure the areas close to downtown are safer, I think we need to allow our BPD to actually ticket speed violators and to have greater presence downtown/old town again. I have heard this request MANY times. We need to also add more officers sooner rather than later. As Bargersville expands, we put more pressure on the current police and fire forces. Adding staff allows for more vacation time and hopefully shorter shifts and/or work weeks.
We also need to consider more senior living/housing and better care for the seniors who once had the senior center that is now the community center. I will add more on that later, but our aging and experienced population is being forgotten as we grow. God willing, we will all grow old and I want our community to continue to care for us, all of us, as we do. Our elders are worthy of amenities and attention.
Long term, I would also like to continue the trail or a sidewalk on the north side of Schoolhouse to give greater access to the residents who otherwise have to go a mile in the opposite direction, dangerously cross 144, or, worse, walk along 144 to get to the parks faster. Also, a blind driveway sign heading east on Schoolhouse.
A community with this amount of growth and close parks needs those parks to be accessible without using the actual roads to get there. The parking is great, but why take a car when you don't need to? Schoolhouse will also be opening up to a new subdivision sooner than later, so we need to make it more attractive to new residents as well as those of us who are already here.
Not one of the existing parks (Kephart was not included in this originally) has a sidewalk leading directly to it. Additionally, ZERO BVille parks, to my knowledge, have any sort of adequate sun shades for the park amenities like Greenwood and Franklin. Kephart's slides and equipment are so hot by 11:00am right now, that it burns my legs WITH long pants on. Beulah Witt faces east and west with no trees (blinding on the swings), and Windisch could use more trees but is generally good even in the heat. I would like to see a hole drilled in the orange ramp that enters on the west side of the larger playset at Windisch so water doesn't pool there, but rather drains. That gets so gross after a rain!
A lot of this seems to be the one major thing Vision 2040 lacks; remembering there are 100's of residents and existing homes being left out of the plan for growth. Just because it is/was already here shouldn't neglect it from upkeep and modification. The plan focuses more on the parking, business facades, (see page 77 of Vision 2040
), and events. All of these are fantastic improvements, but they need to be accessible on foot/bike/mobility aid.
We have loads of land and space for new businesses and we will undoubtedly have several more TIF
s offered and bonds used. A TIF is tax increment financing for larger corporations which essentially takes away the amount of taxes they (the corporation) pay which means less funding for schools, and town amenities like parks, trails, sidewalks, etc. TIFs are supposed to help bring sales tax dollars, but I think Bargersville could be more selective on the terms in which these are given out.
It is important to note that I don't have a list of exactly where the TIFs in Bargersville are or maybe what the terms state or if we can even amend how a traditional TIF is negotiated, however, I do know we have a growing and innovative town and we can likely use this to our advantage! What if, instead of just handing out a TIF, we give companies TIFs that not only help bring people but also use less of our energy? I do plan to look into these.
You know those emails and notes we got all last summer asking us to not use dishwashers, washers, etc. to conserve energy and prevent power outages? I do, and I feel frustrated every time I see one. I also think this may be easily avoidable long term or at the very least less frequent.
How about all new TIF companies be required to use renewable energy such as solar panels? This way, they save in energy costs, the company gets a tax break from the federal government, and they take less of YOUR energy. Additionally, I would propose that any NEW home built in Bargersville that costs over $250,000 would be required to install renewable energy that produces at least 80% of their energy needs. We have nearly an entire police force running on Teslas and saving the town thousands in service needs and fuel costs. Think of what extending that frame of mind of saving energy and town dollars to the rest of the community with renewable energy could do.
Landscaping around the Bargersville Parks is awful at best; "beautiful" but awful long term. The town wastes so much money mowing property that could be better used for native wild plants and flowers, instead of the annuals they continue to plant or grass that is tended to. Native flowers are great for pollinators and help us all eat, don't need a lot of maintenance, require zero mowing, or major long-term upkeep. Perennials are just a smarter way to go and I am told (and I have seen them attempt to grow) that we used to have several in Windish Memorial Park as part of the memorial that the town apparently refuses to maintain or honor; they just mow them all over. We are an evolving, growing town, I think we need to evolve responsibly not doing the same old as yesteryear.
Maintenance for the areas that are mowed needs to include trash pickup by the people mowing the grass. I saw a BVille-hired person mowing along Schoolhouse last month and mowing OVER trash, blowing it into the street, the corn field, and the residents across the street. How is this helpful?
**THIS PLAN SAVES MONEY AND RESOURCES IN THE LONG-TERM**
Also, the Bradford Pear trees MUST GO!
I have sent emails with information about how the town would have likely been able to get FREE tree replacements if they talked to the Johnson County Soil and Water District
. Bradford Pears are native to China (and I know you all have an opinion on China), NOT the US, they are incredibly dangerous and invasive
and I am pretty sure Kephart Park just had several planted there in addition to the Windisch Park Bradfords. Why not put some native trees, maples that can be tapped, or fruit-bearing trees and make a small community-style garden? Logical growth makes more sense than doing things the way we did them in the 90's.
BIKE RACKS! Let's add some cool bike racks around town for those who choose to bike to Main Street activities! This is an excellent way to promote active lifestyles and we can keep up with or surpass (preferably) the amenities of Greenwood and Franklin.
Finally, I also want to up the pay of the BPD to be more competitive as well as town employees. I am told but have not confirmed, that employees recently took a hit on bonuses and didn't get great raises this year. Minimal increases in salary and the reduction of bonuses are a thing of the past and, let's face it, we are in a recession. Yes, I said it. Let's take care of our town employees because they do a lot for us and they are very good at their jobs. People don't stay at jobs that they don't feel appreciated in and by appreciated, I mean compensated financially, appropriately, and competitively, for the work being done.
I left my previous job because my paychecks lost $43 a week, less than $5,000 a year because my time off was being spent on continuing education (I was making a six-figure income). People no longer work for subpar pay just because it's a job and I am willing to bet that losing bonuses or 1%-4% pay raises won't be tolerated long term. Pay our town employees better than a living wage and make it a competitive position that attracts talent.
Check back, I am sure that I will add more soon!
**steps off soapbox**