(INDIANAPOLIS) — Fishers is far more than the bedroom community of years ago. The recent vision within the last decade to evolve into a “smart, vibrant and entrepreneurial city” has firmly taken hold, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has noticed, naming Fishers its 2016 Community of the Year.
Under the leadership of Mayor Scott Fadness and the city council, Fishers has become a center for innovation and an attractive business destination.
At the State of the City address in February, the mayor announced 1,000 new jobs were on their way. Today, he says Fishers may see as many as 4,000 new jobs in total for the year.
“One of our goals is increasing the opportunities for people who live in our community to find gainful employment in their own city,” Fadness explains. “One of the best quality of life measurements for me is to eliminate residents’ need to commute a long distance … if you could spend another hour with your family, rather than being in the car, why wouldn’t you?”
With the influx of new jobs and amenities, Fishers now boasts a population of nearly 90,000. All for a locale that only officially transitioned from a town to city status less than two years ago.
The 2013 opening of Launch Fishers, a collaborative co-working space for entrepreneurs, was key to putting the city on the right path. “That first year, we were hoping for 100 members; we thought that would be tremendous – we had 200. Then we were at 400 and now 630,” Fadness states.
It’s a prime example of Fishers partnering with the private sector and as Fadness puts it, “allowing them to do what they do best. (In this case) foster the environment for them to create whatever they’re going to create.”
Among the most high profile recent announcements are retailers IKEA and Topgolf building stores at 116th Street off of I-69; both are slated to open in fall 2017.
Other accomplishments include:
• a roadmap for the city called Fishers 2040 Plan: A Framework for Our Future that strives to present a long-term vision;
• building a downtown essentially from scratch over the course of three years;
• a school district – Hamilton Southeastern – that has had more four-star schools than any other Indiana district in the last two years; both high schools are ranked nationally in Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report's best high school lists;
• willingness to focus on mental health and come up with actionable items to help its citizens; and
• in the last five-plus years, received high rankings for its affordability and livability from Money magazine, BusinessWeek and Forbes.
“Fishers’ tremendous success is rooted in the desire to be that destination for work, play and life,” observes Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “The mayor’s office and city council have really coalesced around the city’s vision and the community itself has embraced the many changes and initiatives that have transformed Fishers in a big way.”
Adds Fadness, “We are thrilled to receive this honor, but I also think we are just getting warmed up. Big ideas will continue along with new opportunities. We are by no means declaring victory yet.”
The Community of the Year award is sponsored by Lifeline Data Centers.
“We are pleased to be a part of an award that showcases the very best of Indiana. Like our company, Fishers is on the leading edge of innovation and has truly become a very dynamic place,” offers Dana Carroll, co-owner of Lifeline Data Centers.
Fishers will be honored at the Indiana Chamber’s 27th Annual Awards Dinner on November 15 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. More than 1,500 business, political and community leaders are expected to attend.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and long-time political commentator George F. Will headlines the event. The reception is at 5 p.m. with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tables of 10 and individual tickets are available by calling (800) 824-6885 or at www.indianachamber.com/ad. Sponsorship opportunities also remain; contact Jim Wagner for details.
The celebration of Hoosier success stories will include the presentation of three additional awards: Business Leader, Government Leader and the Indiana Vision 2025 Dynamic Leader of the Year. Indiana Vision 2025 is the Chamber’s long-range economic development plan and the award emphasizes entrepreneurship and others facets of the plan’s Dynamic and Creative Culture driver.
Media interested in covering the event should contact Rebecca Patrick at (317) 264-6897 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most recent Community of the Year recipients:
2010: Terre Haute
The Indiana Chamber partners with 24,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”