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Seasoned lawyers providing guidance and counsel for your family, employment, and business law matters, including estate planning services. Founded by Zionsville native Melissa York-Vare, Vare Law* combines the expertise of a large, prestigious firm with a detailed attention to personal service. With 50+ years of combined legal experience with large and boutique firms, attorneys Melissa Vare and Duard Ballard are committed to providing focused, efficient legal representation.

*An association of attorneys.

Ms. Vare has significant litigation experience and offers family law, employment law, and general litigation services.

Mr. Ballard, a Zionsville resident, focuses his practice on business and estate planning needs.

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“ ..family law, employment law, and general litigation services” and “..business and estate planning”



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2020-12-17 11:44 AM




Zionsville Success Achived: Despite a Challenging Year



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Homers, cheerleaders, bandwagon jumpers, are all terms that we are sure many of you will use to describe our cover this month. And, frankly, we are guilty as charged! However, we strongly feel that the town officials and the residents of Zionsville should be given credit for many accomplishments this year, especially given the unbelievably difficult conditions that we all faced. So, with more than a little bit of hometown bias, we thank everyone for their work this year to improve life in Zionsville and look forward to the prospect of a truly marvelous new year.

Writer // Janelle Morrison



PUBLISHER / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803

Village Mattress Proudly Announces Its Expansion in Zionsville


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803 PUBLISHER / Lena Lucas lena@collectivepub.com / 317-501-0418

West Clay Realty: Trusted and Proven Experts in Real Estate Open New Brokerage

DIRECTOR OF SALES / Lena Lucas lena@collectivepub.com / 317-501-0418 HEAD WRITER / Janelle Morrison janelle@collectivepub.com / 317-250-7298

13 Harmony Steak House: Brings Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Asian Fusion to Anson

DECEMBER WRITER / Janelle Morrison

Business Spotlight is sponsored content.

Stay informed on news and events in Zionsville by following us on Twitter and Facebook ZIONSVILLEMONTHLYMAGAZINE




For advertisement sales call Lena Lucas 317-501-0418 or email lena@collectivepub.com COLLECTIVE PUBLISHING, LLC - PO BOX 6326 - FISHERS, IN 46037 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY

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2020-12-18 11:34 AM

V i l l a g e M a t t r e s s P r o u d l y A n n o u n c e s I t s

Expansion in Zionsville Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Staff

If you’re like most people, you’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in your home this year and may be experiencing the doldrums that come with unprecedented times like these. Many folks have taken this time to purge, organize and spruce up their living spaces. If this is you and you’re looking for quality, budget-friendly and comfortable furniture and/or mattresses, look no further than Village Mattress, a locally owned and operated business that is an expert in quality and service.


illage Mattress is pleased to announce its expansion: Village Sofa and Design Center in Zionsville!

Expanding the Business Plan With years of experience in the furniture and mattress industry, Chris Plopper and his staff are the experts on the most popular and reliable manufacturers in

their industry. In addition to his Zionsville store, Plopper has another location—Village Furniture & Mattress—in Lebanon, Indiana. Plopper has recently expanded his Zionsville showroom to 4,000 square feet and is bringing in a couple of the industry’s most trusted, high-quality, stationary and reclining furniture manufacturers: England and Southern Motion. Both lines


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offer impressive warranties on frames, mechanisms, springs and cushions. “We’ve added the additional square footage to our showroom and design center in Zionsville,” Plopper shared. “That enabled us to bring in the reclining and stationary furniture and to essentially create a design center where customers can come in and select their fabrics or leather to go on the stationary and/or re-


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more about the room they’re focusing on and help them find the right color scheme and keep the same tonal quality they’re trying to present in the room they’re decorating.” Once selections have been made and ordered, the delivery is just as simple and professionally executed. “We offer full-service delivery while following the proper [COVID-19] protocols, wearing masks, etc.,” Plopper emphasized. “We are also keeping a clean store/showroom that we are frequently cleaning, as well as taking the proper steps to ensure that our customers walk into a clean environment.” For those who would prefer to make an appointment, Plopper invites folks to do so while reminding the public that he is open for walk-ins as well. While the current website is undergoing a rebuild, customers can still visit the existing website to explore the lines that Plopper carries. “We’re hoping to have the website completed and launched after the first of the year,” Plopper said with excitement. “The vendors that I carry also have excellent websites of their own where you can view all of their products, and with the stationary [furniture] line that I carry [England Furniture], you can actually choose your frame and fabric to get a depiction of what your sofa or chair will look like.”

Act Now Before It’s All Gone!

clining chairs or sofas. Additionally, we’re going to have accessories for the whole house as well. After opening the furniture store in Lebanon, I saw the synergy between selling mattresses and items for the rest of the house situation—furniturewise—and I decided to make that leap in Zionsville because there isn’t anybody else doing it here.” Plopper admitted that this year has been one of his industry’s busiest because of the pandemic and people spending more time at home than usual. “People are spending money on their home because they didn’t go on vacation and they’re trying to make improve-

ments to their homes,” Plopper stated. “Additionally, there are many new houses being built in the Zionsville area, and those people are going to want/need new home furnishings. We want to be the home furnishing destination for Zionsville going forward.”

First-Class Service and Delivery When choosing one’s level of comfort and when deciding on what type of fabric and colors to bring a room’s decor all together, Plopper and his highly trained staff are happy to help their customers in the design center. “We will work with the client to learn


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Why wait for the new year to get serious about upgrading your furniture or mattress? Plopper shared that he is running a clearance/closeout sale on one of his mattress lines so you can start sleeping better and all through the night! Plopper added, “We’re doing a yearend closeout on all of my Southerland products, and there’s floor models that are available at highly discounted prices as well at my Zionsville location.” So, don’t wait any longer! Stop in or make your appointment for a design consultation at Zionsville’s premier home furnishings and mattress showroom— Village Mattress and Village Sofa & Design Center. For hours of operation and more information, visit villagemattress.net.


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WE DONATE OR RECYCLE YOUR OLD ITEMS LICENSED AND INSURED TRANSPARENT PRICING WHAT WE HAUL AWAY • Appliances • Carpets • Mattresses • Furniture for Home and Office • Hot Tub/Pool/Deck Removal • Shed/Minibarn/Gazebo Removal • Trash/Construction Debris • E-Waste • Yard Waste

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2020-12-18 11:28 AM



Rick Harrison, Principal, Senior Financial Advisor


Two Documents Every 18-Year-Old Should Sign Financial and health care power of attorney documents are fundamental components of any estate plan. Executing these documents is essential to allow others to act on our behalf when we are unable to act for ourselves.


hen we think about who will act on behalf of our adult children when health or other emergencies arise in their lives, we tend to automatically assume that as parents we can always step in for our kids when they can’t fend for themselves. Right? Wrong! On a child’s 18th birthday, he or she becomes an adult in the eyes of the law. This is true even if you are still paying for his or her college tuition, housing, cell phone and car insurance, and it’s even true if you still carry the adult child on your health insurance plan and claim him or her as a dependent on your income tax return. More importantly, without proper documentation parents don’t have the authority to manage their adult children’s

finances or make health care decisions on their behalf. A child developing the maturity to make their own choices is part of the normal process of turning children into fruitful adults. However, if a young adult is in an accident or becomes temporarily disabled, without a pre-existing power of attorney a parent will need to obtain court approval simply to act on their child’s behalf. As much as we hope we’ve prepared them to take care of themselves in any situation, we are likely still our children’s fallback for emergencies. It could be a parent’s worst nightmare to find out the hard way that the law has cut some valuable and deep ties when your child needs you the most. And as the average age of marriage for young people creeps up into the late 20’s, it’s likely there could

be a ten-year or more window of risk where there is no spouse to assume the role of agent and advocate and you as the parent will be in the best position to act during times of crisis. Fortunately, a simple solution exists. When your children turn 18 years of age, ask them to sign both a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive, documents which will allow you to make decisions regarding emergency health care or step in and manage your adult children’s financial affairs should they be unable to do so themselves. Be sure the documents are valid not only in the state where you reside, but also in your children’s states of residence. The Health Care Directive consists of three parts: a health care power of attorney, which authorizes an agent to make medical decisions on someone’s

behalf; a HIPPA release that will provide the agent full access to medical records; and a living will, which expresses a person’s preference regarding end-of-life care. While the health care directive gives authority over medical decisions, a Durable Power of Attorney appoints an agent to act on an adult child’s behalf in a wider range of financial and legal matters. Not only limited to parents, any trusted family member, friend or adviser may take on the role of agent. A power of attorney may become effective from the moment it is signed or it may be activated by a specific event—for instance, if he or she becomes incompetent. The problem with this approach, known as “springing power,” is that someone must decide when an individual has reached that state. For that reason we recommend a durable power of attorney that takes effect immediately. Certainly these situations are not fun to ponder. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our adult children.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Call 317.848.2180 visit us at www.sym.com or Email rharrison@sym.com

Disclosures: There is no guarantee of future performance with any SYM Financial Corporation (“SYM”) portfolio. These examples are for illustrative purposes only and there is no guarantee that any client account will perform at a certain level of performance. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. All investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal invested. The actual characteristics with respect to any particular client account will vary based on a number of factors including but not limited to: (i) the size of the account; (ii) investment restrictions applicable to the account, if any; and (iii) market conditions at the time of investment. The opinions expressed herein are those of SYM and are subject to change without notice. SYM reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs and there is no guarantee that their assessment of investments will be accurate. SYM is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about SYM including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. SYM-17-12

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2020-06-22 2:40 PM

West Clay Realty: Trusted and Proven Experts in Real Estate Open New Brokerage Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Paola Williams Photography

It has been an impressive evolution for Carmel residents and real estate experts Joe Kempler and Scot Pollard who have recently gone out on their own and formed West Clay Realty. Amid a pandemic, the duo has generated nearly $25 million in real estate sales and are looking ahead at 2021 being another strong year in residential real estate. THE “GO-TO” TEAM IN THE VILLAGE OF WESTCLAY Over the years, Kempler has built his reputation for attention to detail, first-rate customer service and expertise on the Village of WestClay and the Carmel real estate markets. His reputation and Pollard’s recognition as a former NBA player

and philanthropist have created a powerful and proven alliance that led the two former Encore Sotheby’s brokers to go out and create their own boutique brokerage in the heart of the Village of WestClay, where Kempler and Pollard both reside. Kempler attributes his customers’ referrals and what he has learned from

the different real estate brokerages he has been affiliated with to his continued success and his decision to branch out and reinstate West Clay Realty (an original endeavor) along with Pollard. “We’ve been blessed with having a lot of people continue to come back to us and refer us over the years,” Kempler said. “I’ve been associated with three great [real estate] brands, and they’ve taught me a lot. Getting back to West Clay Realty—which is where I began my career in real estate— has been a fun evolution.” The West Clay Realty office is conveniently located in the heart of the


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Village of West Clay at 1905 South New Market Street, Suite 165. “We have moved our office around the corner from our previous location, just south of the Meeting House in the Village [of WestClay],” Pollard said. “As I’ve talked about in the past, when I was interviewing with different real estate companies, trying to find the best fit for me to begin my real estate career, I felt going with Joe [Kempler] was the best fit for me. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with our relationship with Encore [Sotheby’s], Joe and I simply felt that we wanted to have more control over our listings, our client portfolios and our future. I felt it was still a good fit for me to stay with Joe as he re-creates West Clay Realty, and it’s been a great decision.” Pollard added, “Joe and I have developed a reputation of being your hometown Realtors. We live and work in the neighborhood, and while we also service our buyers/sellers in the surrounding areas, we do enjoy being the faces of real estate in West Clay.”

Kempler and Pollard’s confidence comes from experience, their understanding of the ebbs and flows of the local market and their empathy for what their clients’ need in their home environments during these challenging times where one’s home is truly a sanctuary for most. Pollard added, “Our optimism comes from our confidence, and our confidence comes from preparation, work ethic and from doing the right things for our clients.” An example of Kempler and Pollard’s customer-centric philosophy can be seen in their marketing initiatives. While building the West Clay Realty brand is important, it is secondary to promoting current inventory. “Another thing that sets us apart is when we do advertising, our primary focus is on our customers and their properties,” Kempler said. “For instance, when we advertise in Carmel Monthly, we’re advertising the properties, and it’s mostly about the clients and less about us.”



Kempler’s thoughts for the impending new year mirror what has transpired in the local real estate market throughout 2020—a most unprecedented year in all industries and for residential real estate in particular. “Part of the success of the [residential real estate] market this year has been the result of a strong seller’s market,” Kempler shared. “There haven’t been that many homes on the market. I see that being the case going into next year. The feds have committed to keeping the interest rates low, and I think it will be another good market for residential real estate going into 2021.” Pollard added, “In uncertain times such as these, there are predictors that make us feel confident that not only are we going to continue to be successful real estate brokers on our own but also that the market is going to continue to be strong, despite all the things that might otherwise be ‘alarming’ in a normal market.”

Kempler and Pollard epitomize the notion of “working, living and playing” in one’s community. Both contribute in meaningful ways to the community at

large and especially to their neighborhood to help build stronger and healthier communities. For example, the duo donates a portion of every transaction to the MIBOR Foundation to help fight homelessness and sponsors an outdoor concert series in their neighborhood. “A good portion of our engagement efforts goes towards community events,” Pollard said. “We have concerts in the Village every year. We were able to get ours in this year before everything was really locked down, and we look forward to continuing those going forward.” Kempler added, “It’s been a tough year to get out and do the things that we wanted, but we’re going to have more of these events and community gatherings once it’s safe and practical to do so.” If you are in the market to sell or buy a home in the Carmel, Westfield, Zionsville, Noblesville or Village of WestClay areas, contact Joe Kempler or Scot Pollard and let these experts be part of your moving plans in 2021! Contact Joe Kempler at (317) 523-6405 or Scot Pollard at (317) 900-3500. Visit West Clay Realty at westclayrealtors.com.


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2020-10-21 6:32 PM


Harmony Steak House

Brings Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Asian Fusion to Anson Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Staff

Harmony Steak House goes beyond the boundaries of taste—it’s an exceptional dining experience. The newly opened Japanese steak house boasts authenticity in a nontraditional way. The owners, Ren Yang and his wife Lin Guo, are successful restaurateurs in both the Indianapolis area and in Chicago and are excited about their latest venture—Harmony Steak House—located in Whitestown at The Shoppes at Anson.

The Yang’s latest restaurant offers an expansive menu of traditional Japanese cuisine and Asian Fusion that features superb quality ingredients, creative sushi entrees, entertaining hibachi, all in a casual environment that is both elegant and family-friendly. Their dedication to the highest standards of food and customer service is what drives the Yangs’ success. They opened two of their six restaurants (Meet Noodles and Tsaocaa Indy) in the Castleton area in 2018 and 2019 and began looking at the Zionsville/Whitestown area in 2018. “We had been watching the [Anson] development since 2018, and we wanted to move to the Zionsville/Whitestown area and open a nice, elegant, sit-down restaurant,” Ren shared. “We like the area for its communities, schools and because it feels comfortable.” The Yang’s began the interior construction of Harmony Steak House in 2020. Although the project was delayed by a couple of month’s due to the pandemic, the couple was thrilled to complete the construction in November and officially open at the end of November. The pair are working fervently to build up their staff and levels of service to the exceptional standards that they are used to providing their customers while contending with the pandemic and required safety protocols.


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TRADITIONAL AND ASIAN FUSION CUISINE REDEFINED In addition to an inviting and kid-friendly atmosphere, Harmony Steak House consists of three dining experiences: the main kitchen, the sushi bar and the hibachi grill. Each brings flavor and fun to the dining experience. The talented culinary crew at Harmony creates an array of colorful and brilliant sushi displays made up of hand-wrapped sushi rolls and firstrate sashimi. In addition to Harmony’s signature and classic rolls, the menu also features some locally influenced creations such as the Whitestown and the Zionsville rolls, featuring colors to represent the communities. Another signature sushi roll, the Harmony Signature Roll, is a delectable roll that combines the taste variations of shrimp tempura, spicy crab meat, avocado, Jalapeno, topped with seared filet steak slices, spicy mayo and Chef’s special sauce—yes, please! If you’re looking for an entertaining and delicious dining experience, be sure to try one of Harmony’s hibachi combo. Or any of the exquisite appetizers,

teriyaki entrees and Japanese-style ramen noodle dishes that pair beautifully with Harmony’s signature cocktails or traditional sake that is offered in addition to its full bar, stocked with an impressive collection of top-shelf spirits. Ren added, “We tried to create something a little bit different [with the bar]. It has a different design, and we carry a lot of Japanese-style sake, traditional signature Japanese cocktails, but you

can order any kind of cocktails and spirits at the bar.” In addition to Harmony’s exceptional dine-in experience, people can enjoy its full menu via carryout by visiting the website and placing an order online. Special event catering is also available! “We continue to work at improving not just our food but our service,” Lin emphasized. “We are happy that people have been enjoying the atmosphere of our restaurant because we think that’s the most important thing we can bring to our customers. People are not just looking for good food. They can buy fast food or make their own food at home, but people go out to eat because they’re looking for a place to go to feel happy and comfortable.” So, if you’re looking for a delicious lunch or dinner in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere, come out and try Harmony Steak House and help us welcome Ren and Lin to the community. For more information, hours of operation and to view the full menu, visit harmonysteakhouse.com. Be sure to follow Harmony Steak House on Facebook, Instagram and Yelp.


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Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Submitted

As the year comes to a close, and we take a moment to reflect on everything that has transpired since last January, pre-COVID-19 and throughout the pandemic, I thought it prudent to speak with Mayor Styron and some of the Town of Zionsville’s staff about a few of the administration’s highlights and projects that continue to help shape our evolving town, as well as some of the lessons learned and what we can look forward to in the new year.


hat we’ve already accomplished in a year is pretty phenomenal, given the year,” Styron said. “And when we think about all of the stacks that we are building, in terms of getting ready for next year, and as long as there is financial stability throughout the country and our state, we’ve got a lot of possibility [going into 2021], and I am hopeful.”

Providing Aid to the Business Community While the mayor and her staff cannot control what happens at the national level, they can influence what happens at the local levels, and just because the toll of midnight will ring in a new year, it will not

bring a sudden end to the pandemic. Its ripple effect will be in play well into 2021–22, as far as economic impact is concerned. The Town of Zionsville Community Development Corporation (CDC) launched COVID-19 Assistance programs that address the burden of unplanned expenses and lost revenue incurred due to COVID-19. The CDC’s COVID-19 Grant program was rolled out this year to provide upwards of $10,000 in funding to businesses located in the 106th Street Tax Increment Finance District (area bounded by Poplar Street, Elm Street, 96th Street, Michigan Road and Zionsville Road). When asked if the town intends to extend the grant program into 2021, the mayor replied, “I definitely want us to take ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY

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a strong look at what the financials are going forward and how we can sustain the COVID-19 Grant program for as long as it’s needed because we really need to recognize that it is a lifeline for businesses.” Wayne DeLong, director of planning and economic development, also spoke about the impact that the COVID-19 Grant has made on the participating businesses. “For starters, we are all focused on maintaining the program—at a minimum—into 2021,” DeLong shared. “The goal of the program is to have at least the same amount of funding [$250,000] available going into 2021, as we know that the pandemic will not be over come Jan. 1. This is a challenging time, so we are looking at ways to shore up the foundation. The [COVID-19 Grant] has been


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or 509(a)(1) and must be used for charitable purposes as defined by section 170 (b)(1)(A).

Amid Pandemic, Our Town Still Grows

successful, but it does have its limitations because there is only so much money. Entrepreneurs are tough and have the tenacity to navigate waters, but everybody needs help every now and again.”

Zionsville’s Community Grant Program Earlier this month, Mayor Styron announced the establishment of a community grant program that enhances the quality of life for residents, business owners and visitors to Zionsville. Projects funded are those that promote Zionsville, promote Zionsville businesses, create a public facility, improve infrastructure and/or celebrate diversity and inclusion. Applications open beginning Jan. 1, 2021. “We launched the grant process in part in response to COVID-19 to provide relief to community organizations,” Styron said. “Throughout the year, we have learned that a community grant program can add a lot of value. In the past, the town has supported a select few community organizations to receive grants. With this new program, we are formalizing the process and creating a committee—actions that will better help the Town of Zionsville respond to the needs of our community.” The newly formed Zionsville Community Enrichment Committee will evaluate and award financial assistance to local community-serving organizations. This committee consists of five community members: three appointed by the mayor and two appointed by the town council majority. This five-member advisory committee ensures that grant awards are consistent with the town’s Code of Ordinances and are dispersed in a manner that is transparent and fair. Applications will be available on the Town of Zionsville website. Eligible organizations must be located in Boone County, serve Zionsville residents and business and are defined as 501(c)(3) public charity

As I reported back in October, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) announced its plans to expand and establish its global headquarters in Zionsville’s Creekside Corporate Park, to be completed in 2022, and is expected to create up to 73 new jobs by the end of 2024. “The RLL project came at a ‘golden time’ in 2020, early in the first quarter,” Styron shared. “It gave us an opportunity to test what we have been working on since day one of [this administration]. We spent the first five weeks going through past inquiries and evaluating what the roadblocks had been. I know that it’s going to be slow over the next several years, but we’ve got a great product and we have a great process in place now. We have people at the ready to start curating a customer when an inquiry comes in the door, and through our process, we are competing at a level that our town deserves and should be able to compete at. We’ve gotten to the finals [with proposed projects] and have lost. And that’s going to happen, but we can’t win if we don’t play, and we’re playing hard.” The town’s planning department hasn’t seen any signs of the town’s permitting slowing down and could possibly break its own record [259 permits] by the end of the year. “Our highest year ever was in 2013, coming out of a recession,” DeLong stated. “It’s still business as usual here, and honestly, it’s been business as usual but escalated. So far this year, we’ve issued 256 single-family dwelling permits. Here we are in a pandemic, one of the toughest years many of us have ever experienced, and what these numbers show


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us is that Zionsville, no matter the odds, is still an awesome place where people want to be. And you have an entire team of civil servants that are here to facilitate the mission and that person’s desire and interest in being a part of this community. We’re still here to make that happen.”

The Zionsville Gateway Area (ZGA) “I am excited about this ZGA project,” Styron enthused. “Julie [Johns-Cole] and I have been talking about this since we were on the campaign trail. Both of us shared the story about how that blighted entryway into our town was driver for us to run for office. We knew it was long past time to fix that. Our work histories gave us the insight and project planning tools to turn that area around. And that has been a big priority for us since day one. We’ve engaged strategic planning and consulting firm Thomas P. Miller & Associates and architectural/brand strategy firm DELV Design to help facilitate the process.” The mission statement of the ZGA plan is “to identify the highest, best and most sustainable mix of uses within the Zionsville Gateway Area and to explore ideas for an economically vibrant, whole-community-serving and authentically Zionsville experience.” “We have caught the attention of some potential granting organizations, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll end up with additional grant dollars to help with some of the [ZGA] improvements. I can tell you that a parking garage and public restrooms are part of this effort, as well as maintaining a space for the farmers market and other special events. We are going to do what we can to add more economic vitality to that area.”


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AN OVERVIEW OF THE TOWN’S COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EFFORTS AND PROGRESS Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of the Town of Zionsville

In addition to finding innovative ways to pivot around the pandemic, the mayor and the town’s departments have looked to find ways and resources to help make our community stronger and healthier—not just financially but across the board—and not only for the citizens of today but for future generations of Zionsville residents, business owners and visitors alike. Community Engagement


he town launched Live Sessions with Mayor Styron and Town Council President Josh Garrett, live streams of board/commission meetings, Creekside Chats with residents and local groups, Overley-Worman Park virtual open house and more. Additionally, on the issues of diversity and inclusion, Styron and the Zionsville Police Department (ZPD) are committed to discussing diversity, inclusion and systemic racism and strengthening policies and practices beyond 2021. On June 1, a vigil for George Floyd was held at Zionsville Town Hall. This community-organized event brought together local leaders, clergy and hundreds of residents. Since this event, the town has focused internally to define steps the town can take to support diversity and inclusion and to facilitate a meaningful dialogue around social justice as a community. The mayor launched a Community Conversations series to discuss implicit bias, and the Zionsville Town Council passed a Resolution to Call for Social Justice. A board was established within ZPD to review internal policies regarding use of force. The board consists of three representatives from the department and two civilian members. Policies and training opportunities are being carefully examined by this board. Useof-force actions taken by police officers will be reviewed by the board to ensure compliance with department policies and applicable law. The board will submit its findings to the chief of police along with recommendations

for policy changes, training or other improvements. Also, department and town leadership are actively implementing plans to recruit qualified minority candidates for current and future opening within the police department to better reflect our community makeup.

Continuing the Conversation and the Efforts “We are still in the initial stages of these efforts,” Styron said. “We will continue to lead these conversations throughout the four years of this administration because I feel that engagement is fundamental to community growth, understanding and health.” Styron continued, “I feel like people who have been marginalized or feel that they have been marginalized and have had experiences that are alienating to them, when they get an opportunity to stand up in front of neighbors, friends, community members and leaders like the mayor and the police chief and share their stories, be heard and validated, that is a step towards healing. Another thing we can do is pledge to look at our own processes and see where we can improve them so that those experiences are not sustained in the future.” ZPD has also created a Behavioral Health Unit, establishing the REACH unit (Resources, Evaluating, Assisting in Community Health). Officers are focusing on public safety, mental health and personal and community wellness to reduce the risk of injury for first responders and individuals in crisis, reduce and prevent crime, maximize self-sufficiency and improve quality of life. The REACH unit partners with mental health ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY

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professionals to follow up on cases involving persons who might benefit from treatment, counseling or other services. The town, along with ZPD Chief Michael Spears, collaborated with Dr. Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, a Zionsville resident and former vice president for intercultural affairs and professor at Loyola Marymount University, to facilitate virtual assemblies [due to COVID-19 restrictions] with the public this past summer. What the public may not realize is that Chief Spears was already working with the mayor and his department on the issues of diversity and inclusion prior to the death of George Floyd, when the chief began his duties last April. “I knew going into this position that these topics were at the top of our goals list for the department,” Spears said. “At that time [pre-pandemic], I wanted to assemble groups of citizens to look at the issues that not only affect Zionsville but all neighboring towns, cities and police departments, relative to race, diversity, inclusion and implicit bias. We want to continue to work closely with our schools as well.” When asked if ZPD is or will be working with other local area public safety agencies on these issues, Spears said, “We are more than happy to work with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Whitestown Police Department and any other agencies or organizations that are interested in partnering with us. Police departments, in particular, need to understand that they can’t do everything on their own. It’s much like tug of war. On one end of the rope, you have all the problems, and you’ve got the police department pulling on the other end. We can move that end of the rope farther in the right direction when other people put their hands on the rope. When we all pull together, we’re a lot stronger than we are individually.”

Dr. Robison-Armstrong (left) and Chief Spears (right)


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A BRIEF RETROSPECTIVE OF ADDITIONAL TOWN OBJECTIVES AND PROJECTS Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of the Town of Zionsville

There have been several objectives met and projects launched by Mayor Styron’s administrative staff and the town’s departments throughout this year that may have been overshadowed by the pandemic, the presidential election and other pressing issues affecting our community, our state and our country.


n this segment, we’ve highlighted some of the many positive moments, achievements and projects that have and will continue to improve efficiencies within all of the town’s departments, services for the residents and businesses within our community and improvements that impact the overall quality of life for our community as a whole.

From the Deputy Mayor Julie JohnsCole on Administrative Restructuring The mayor and her staff have been proactively working within the administrative offices and the town’s departments to better improve its processes and to implement technologies where none were previously available or where upgrades were needed to improve efficiencies throughout the departments. “After taking office, the mayor and her transition team spent the first several weeks learning more about each department, observing processes and daily tasks,” Johns-Cole stated. “It was clear that there was an abundance of opportunity to leverage technology and many of the town’s processes that still heavily relied on paper hard copies. And through learning more and understanding what opportunities existed for us to improve some of these processes and daily tasks, we’ve been making things more efficient.” Johns-Cole mentioned that as part of their efforts, the mayor created the Mayor’s Action Center that combined many of the public processes and tasks into a one-stop-shop for constituents. “This opportunity provides better time savings for the customer to get everything they need from one location, and it also offers us an opportunity to cross-train some of our staff so they can learn a little bit more about each of the departments and provide additional support.” When asked how the pandemic has impacted the town’s level of service, Johns-Cole

replied, “It’s quite clear that we’re still going to be working remotely and virtually into 2021. And people are still hungry for information and data, so with offices closed and people working remotely, we want to make sure that as much information as possible is easily accessible through our website and that it’s digestible for any resident. We haven’t missed a beat for one second, and it’s been pretty remarkable what all we have been able to accomplish this year. It’s a great honor to be part of this team, for sure.”

Tammy Havard on Fiscal Responsibility The town hired its first chief financial officer this year, who happens to also be the first CFO for a town in the state of Indiana. Havard previously worked for the City of Westfield as a financial strategist. Havard has a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University, is an alumna of the Harvard Executive Education Program with coursework on Public Financial Management in a Changing World and is a nationally certified public manager. “I started this position in June after working with the City of Westfield for the past 12 years when it became a city from a town,” Havard said. “It is my understanding that I am the first CFO of Zionsville and the only [town] CFO in the state due to the reorganization structure that Zionsville has done.” When asked specifically about the goals set for her position this year and going forward, Havard replied, “My goals are much bigger than just processing the financial transactions. I’m excited for the opportunity to create value for the residents of Zionsville because we’re continually looking for the opportunities to create efficiencies for both the interactions with the residents and the public, as well as internally with the [town’s] employees.” ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY

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Havard has already implemented some initial plans within the first few months of her start date and has implemented some exciting programs, such as the Purchasing Card Program (P-Card)—offered by the State of Indiana— which is designed to assist in the management and payment of business-related purchases. The program streamlines the procurement and payment processes from beginning to end. The use of the procurement and travel card will virtually eliminate the use of traditional SDO purchases, and in many circumstances, the need for check requests or petty cash. “My office is able to set the limits and all sorts of controls on these cards,” Havard explained. “In addition, we receive an annual rebate, which adds to the revenue line for the town. So, by spending money and paying vendors that we already need to pay, we actually make money back because of this program.” Another example of Havard’s efforts to streamline processes, improve accessibility to data and report the town’s financials to the town council and general public is the implementation of Opengov. During her time at Westfield, she provided financial, process and software-driven solutions in each of the departments. She recovered millions of dollars for the city and implemented the OpenGov Transparency Portal to allow citizens to better understand the city’s revenues and expenses. “I’m really excited about that,” Havard expressed. “It is a user-friendly interface used for reporting municipal finance and information out to the public. It shows the cash balances for the government funds, and it puts everything into plain English to where people can understand it. In the last council meeting, I was able to present stories—which is part of the platform. So, instead of just showing the revenue and the expenses that the council is requested to approve, I can build a story around it and explain what the fund is,


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what the sources of revenue are, what types of expenditures they are and new expenditures that may be in the 2021 budget that maybe weren’t in the 2020 budget, etc.” Havard continued, “That’s the level of transparency that I want to get to in 2021 so that people can understand more about the information and data that is reported. There is also a permitting system, which the city of Fishers uses, that we will be rolling out in the next few months. Having it all integrated will make it much more efficient so that we can better utilize the data and find other things to be innovative about.” Additionally, Havard explained that another function of her office is the function of Township Trustee. “Public assistance applications have increased [due to COVID-19], and we are able to use our partnerships with agencies like HAND, who received funding for those specifically affected by COVID-19, for rental and utility assistance. The town did receive the full distribution from the CARES Act and received $880,000 from the federal government for public safety personnel, PPE, telework, disinfection and for [COVID-19] testing. And we expect to submit for a second round of funding at the end of this year and are getting more information. The revenue would come in 2021.”

Carol Johnson on Zionsville’s Climate Action Plan What is a Climate Action Plan? A climate action plan is a fundamental step for Indiana cities and towns committed to protecting their communities from heavier rainfalls in spring and winter, more river and flash floods and more freeze-thaw events that lead to potholes, among other impacts. A Climate Action Plan outlines steps to take to reduce the town’s contribution to climate change. Our Climate Action Plan will be a road map for the Town of Zionsville to implement changes that increase sustainability efforts and reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, lessening the impact we have on our environment. The Town of Zionsville is one of 11 communities selected to be part of Indiana University’s Resilience Cohort. The town is excited to join with thousands of cities across the world to lower its greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change. Leading this charge is Carol Johnson, who also is the executive assistant to Mayor Styron. “Zionsville was selected to join the Indiana University Resilience Cohort in 2020, and as part of that, we get to have the technical expertise coming from IU’s Environmental

Resilience Institute,” Johnson shared. “We meet every couple of weeks on Zoom with all the other participating towns and cities. This past spring, Mindy Murdock, who was the interim superintendent for Parks and Recreation at the time, was able to get all this data entered into a software called ClearPath, which takes all the sources for greenhouse gas in a town or city and puts it into useful data tracking so that we can forecast where we were in 2018 and where we anticipate we’re going to be in 20–30 years if we change nothing.” Johnson shared that this data is important because the town’s projected population is expected to increase twofold in the next couple of decades. “The town’s population is expected to double, which is shocking to think about Zionsville becoming a 50,000-person town, but that is the actual forecast, and we’re trying to figure out a way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” Johnson said. “The answer is, we probably won’t because we will have twice as many people, but we’re hoping to keep our per capita emissions consistent and have several strategies that we’ve put into the [Climate Action] plan. Some of these strategies deal with energy and waste diversion. We have had and will continue to have conversations with our representatives from Duke Energy and Boone REMC who have both made some commitments that we were able to take into account in our forecasting. We have written into the plan that we will review data and our strategies every three years to see how far we’ve come and what we can do better.” Johnson is also working with a steering committee made up of local residents and town employees who helped frame questions for surveys that went out to the community, of which they received over 1,000 surveys. When asked what Johnson’s immediate goals for the plan are for 2021, she replied, “One thing we’re hoping we can have for next year is an opt-in curbside compost program for town residents that would be handled by a separate business and not directly through the town. I’m really excited about that, and it is something that would have a meaningful impact on the environment that would add no cost to the town or residents that don’t wish to join the program.” Additionally, Johnson said that Mayor Styron would like to see the creation and development of a Sustainability Commission in 2021. “We are working towards developing that by the end of 2021,” Johnson stated. “It would be comprised of volunteers in an unofficial ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY

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role who could look for funding, write grant applications and keep tabs on the strategies and projects. We’d like to offer educational programs related to sustainability as well.”

Lance Lantz on Zionsville’s Department of Public Works As Zionsville’s DPW Director Lance Lantz said, it’s been a “banner year” for the town’s department of public works. “We did not miss a step,” Lantz said. “COVID-19 didn’t affect the services that we provide in this town. We’re finalizing the quantification, but I can say that, budgetarily, we are about 2 ½ times the amount of money that we usually spend on heavy trash services, which would equate to 2 ½ times the participation or volume because people were home—especially during lockdown—and took advantage of that time to clean out their attics and basements.” Lantz added that his department also saw a tremendous uptick in the spring and fall brush and limb pickup services for the same reason— people had time to spruce up their lawns. “Our goal is to remain the silent workhorse that just gets thing done and doesn’t result in a lot of complaints working behind the scenes,” Lantz said. “Our goal was and is to make people feel like those services with which we do have direct control over were not and will not be disrupted.” The DPW saw similar success with regard to road projects this year, but it had little to nothing to do with the affects of the pandemic or related lockdowns. “This year, we had our highest year ever for centerline miles of roads paved,” Lantz shared. “Over seven miles of roads were resurfaced, reconstructed or repaved this year. And we have a very good budget set for 2021, so we’re looking to at least match or exceed those centerline miles. We have about 110 miles [for round numbers], and within the last couple of years, 14–15% of our roadway network has received significant and major improvements. That is a major level of expenditure effort that is unprecedented. We’ve never had this much funding, and we’ve never addressed that many road miles before.” Some of the major road projects that Lantz discussed included the completion of Zionsville Road that was completed in its entirety last spring. “Zionsville Road opened in the fall of 2019, but there was still some degree of work that had to be done in spring of 2020,” Lantz said. “That project represents 1.2 miles of reconstructed and enlarged roadway. The pathway elements that came along with that were around a mile and a


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half of multiuse pathways, and that equates to about 200 residences now having direct access to the pathway network and connectivity to the Main Street area. These residences now have pedestrian or nonvehicular access to our network and specific points within the network. The project also upgraded two traffic signals and added new pedestrian crossing elements to those two traffic signals along that project.” Another major roadway project, the NorthSouth Connector project, is the largest and most aggressive project the town has undertaken in its history, according to Lantz. “It’s been a banner year for adding network capacity in our roadways this year,” Lantz enthused. “Although the North-South Connector is a multiyear project, this year we were able to complete the north roundabout on that and get that open to traffic in a completely finished state. That [north roundabout] is major roundabout number three for the town. And on the horizon for next year, as the construction on that project picks back up in spring, we’ll have the first roundabout construction on Oak Street on the south end of that project at Cooper Road or 850 E. And that roundabout will hopefully be open by mid-summer next year. I’m very excited to keep that project on track and am looking ahead at the next phase. We have a nearly completed design on the next roundabout for Oak Street on Kissel Road/800 E. We will be finalizing the design on that in 2021 and are working with property owners to acquire the necessary right-of-way to make that next roundabout. We will hopefully get that under construction soon after.” The DPW received about $500,000 from a Community Crossings grant that reduced the local burden on some of the road resurfacing projects. Lantz also shared that the town officially created the Department of Public Works in 2020 as part of the current administration’s restructuring initiatives. “The DPW was created this year and the framework was put into place, and we’re in the process of changing title and other minor internal structural changes, but having that framework in place is very exciting,” Lantz said. “Along with that, we’re adding two staff engineers, and I currently have those positions open and advertised.” I asked Lantz about his thoughts on the ZGA project and on Mayor Styron’s direction with that project, to which he responded, “I like the direction and the initiatives that the mayor is taking with the gateway project. We’ve long known that there were transportation improvement opportunities in that corridor. Past efforts had focused on designing projects on self-imposed constraints, and there was a litany of concerns. So essentially, the

erate harmoniously and tie the timings together for the peak travel times. This also provides a more comfortable pedestrian experience.” Lantz added, “We’ve taken great pride and have been very fortunate through the years that we didn’t fall victim early to redevelopment in Zionsville for many years. We’ve preserved the downtown that other communities are now trying to re-create. If we want to install a roundabout in the downtown area, it is going to be incongruous, in my opinion. Traffic signals, as much as they can be viewed as inefficient compared to roundabouts, they still fit small-town America. We have to look at what we want to do to perpetuate and augment and do it in a way that preserves our core downtown and its architectural elements. We can’t just build an antique roundabout.” past approaches to the transportation of that area were geared towards efficiencies for vehicles and getting people through and to stop the bottleneck and the backups.” Lantz continued, “What I like about this approach is that it blends the needs a little more thoroughly in that if we want to create a ‘place making’ exercise and an experience enhancement, then certain things have to be sacrificed. You can have anything, but you can’t have everything. The direction that I see this going is, there’s going to be necessary compromises. Let’s stop trying to build a bypass and make it easy for people and volumes of traffic to get through the heart of our town. Let’s make it an experience. And understand that one of the compromises is going to have to be the free flow of traffic. One of the benefits that will be realized is that through the use of intelligent traffic design, we know that we have some intersections downtown, specifically First Street and Oak Street, that are going to probably need a traffic signal or management in the future, beyond the three-way stop that is there currently.” I asked Lantz if it was at all feasible to consider installing roundabouts in those specific areas that include the ZGA, and he offered some thoughtful logic. In the surrounding communities, most of the Main Street areas have been completely redeveloped, and the roundabouts had been assimilated into those redevelopment projects. They are not original to the architecture nor is the architecture original to the infrastructure. “If we abandon the roundabouts or the desire to get around the traffic solution elements in the gateway study area, that only leaves a traffic signal,” Lantz explained. “If we consolidate the two intersections, involving Sycamore Street as it comes into town, into one efficiently signalized intersection, that allows us to interconnect that signal with the future signals, and let them opZIONSVILLE MONTHLY

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Wayne De Long on Wayfinding Initiatives for Residents, Visitors and Employees A little bit of history of the town’s wayfinding initiatives: Wayfinding is defined as a system of signs that provide navigational assistance to bicyclists, pedestrians and automobile users, including information about destinations, travel distances and other information about the system. The Town of Zionsville sought proposals from consulting groups specializing in transportation planning, design and wayfinding to develop a Town of Zionsville Wayfinding Plan for Zionsville’s pathways, corridors and destinations. All forms of transportation (speeds) were taken into consideration in the Wayfinding Plan (e.g., foot traffic, bicycles, golf carts, automobiles). In 2012, the Town of Zionsville conducted an Economic-Development Strategic Plan. In this plan, it was mentioned that a community-wide wayfinding plan should be developed. This idea was touched on again in the 2014 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Downtown Zionsville Market Study Parking Analysis with regards to locating public parking. In 2016, Zionsville Strategic Trails Implementation Plan was approved. This plan, while more detailed in its responses than prior plans, recommended establishment of a community-wide wayfinding system. “We’ve got a lot of geography here, and there’s lots of different pockets and nodes,” Wayne DeLong, director of planning and economic development, stated. “And you can have conversations with somebody who lives out in one of the townships and doesn’t even realize that they’re in Zionsville. So, the goal of the wayfinding program is to find a way to communicate to people where they are in the scheme of the community. For instance, there are different districts, such as the ‘Village District’ or rural districts, and we want to find a way to commu-


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nicate through imagery where you are at in town and how close you are to an amenity that you didn’t know was there if you’re on one of the trails. You might not realize that just a few more steps this way or that way is this great natural feature. Or that over [here] are public restrooms. This wayfinding program ties right into our gateway study that we’re doing as well.” While most locals can agree that the epicenter of the community is its downtown, DeLong emphasized that there is much more to Zionsville for residents and visitors to enjoy. “Wayfinding is going to help locals be visitors in their own town,” DeLong said. “By using the trail systems, people will benefit both their health and the environment by cutting down on [vehicular] traffic and can experience the town’s brick-and-mortars and restaurants through the trail system, so the wayfinding project is a quality of life effort as well by enhancing the quality of life. It is also an economic development tool because businesses and employees are focused on many different things, including taking care of themselves and their environment where they work. It attracts new businesses when they see a community taking care of itself—that adds value.” DeLong explained further that wayfinding, from an economic development point of view, is an investment in the community, and it visually demonstrates that the Town of Zionsville is doing positive things for its residents and visitors by making it easier to navigate. The official wayfinding website for the Town of Zionsville was recently launched. To learn more about the project and to provide input via a survey, visit the project website: www.GettingAroundZville.com. In addition to the survey, a [virtual] public input meeting will take place at Zionsville Town Hall on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 9 a.m. and at 4 p.m. (same content for both meetings).

And for additional information and press releases about all of the administration and town departments’ achievements and projects for all of 2020, visit the Town of Zionsville’s website at zionsville-in.gov.

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Zionsville MONTHLY - December 2020  

Zionsville Success Achieved: Despite a Challenging Year Homers, cheerleaders, bandwagon jumpers, are all terms that we are sure many of you...

Zionsville MONTHLY - December 2020  

Zionsville Success Achieved: Despite a Challenging Year Homers, cheerleaders, bandwagon jumpers, are all terms that we are sure many of you...