The Whitestown Town Council last night passed an ordinance to create an Economic Improvement District (EID) to help fund a commuter transportation service.
Property owners within an estimated 2,000-acre area straddling I-65 in Whitestown will pay into a fund that will cover the cost of the Whitestown Connector, which provides service between IndyGo’s northwestern-most stop to the dense employment center in Whitestown. Riders access the shuttle from the IndyGo stop at the Trader’s Point shopping center on West 86th Street. Riders can use IndyGo routes 37 or 86 to access the transfer point.
Even with Whitetown’s growing population, job availability is outpacing population growth. Approximately 650 people rode the Whitestown Connector from Indianapolis to get to jobs in Whitestown in November.
To create an EID, property owners in an area petition their municipality to assess themselves in a tax-like manner in order to generate funds for specific projects. More than half of property owners in the proposed district must support an EID proposal before it can go before a municipality. More than 65% of the Whitestown district’s property owners representing more than 63% of the total Assessed Value signed the petition to establish the district. The property owners include such firms as Duke Realty, PTS Diagnostics Real Estate Holdings, Strategic Capital Partners and Indiana Becknell Investors.
The EID will be governed by a board of owners and Town representatives and address common workforce concerns, including transportation and attracting a new skilled workforce. The Town of Whitestown contracted with Kelley and Associates to investigate the feasibility of and work through the process of establishing an EID.
The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) began operating the Whitestown Connector in 2015 via a three-year, nonrenewable federal grant and a local match. The grant expired in 2018, at which time businesses within the district and the Town of Whitestown pooled resources to continue the service and sought to identify more sustainable funding.
“This is a great example of how transit supports job growth,” said Bill Ehret, CIRTA board chair and principal/managing director of Avison Young. “Without reliable transportation, businesses can’t hire enough workers and people have tremendous obstacles in getting to job opportunities.”
“This EID is a long-term public-private partnership between the owners within the district, the Town, and CIRTA that secures transportation linking metropolitan Indianapolis and the fastest growing community in Indiana,” said Ehret.
The cost to ride the Workforce Connector is $1 each way. CIRTA also operates Workforce Connectors in north and south Plainfield.
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