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Recently, the Elwood Call-Leader sat down with Mayor Todd Jones to talk 2021 accomplishments, his goals for the remainder of his term, and a potential run for a third term.
What was accomplished in 2021?
“We reached our 100th demolition of blighted properties in 2021, and have seen a lot of private demolition from various property owners that have had eyesores in the community for a long time – they’re tearing those down as well. We will continue on an aggressive demolition schedule for 2022.
“We’ve also seen new business development in 2021, with ribbon cuttings at the following businesses: Tin Roof Tanning, Unlimited Motors, Auto Cars, Flex Fitness, Elwood Family Dentistry, which was a brand new facility built from the ground up on a blighted property owned by the redevelopment commission, Addilyn’s Place, Envy Turf and Lawn Care, Zulu-scape and Reality Wealth Advisors.
“We also did a groundbreaking for Tin Plate Square Apartments, which is a $9 million development for 72 multi-family market-rate apartments in the uptown district, and the groundbreaking for Wendy’s and are looking to do a ribbon-cutting in 2022 when the dining room opens.”
What does the following year hold for new businesses in Elwood?
“We have a lot of things on the horizon for new business in 2022. Our office, along with the Economic Develop-ment office, gets calls daily. Our biggest obstacle at the moment is the lack of buildings available. Everything seems to be occupied. When we first took office there were several abandoned businesses. We have all of those occupied except for one.
“With the help of the READI grant from the state, it should position us very well to build a spec building that will meet the expectations of potential businesses. With that being said, we’re continuing to take phone calls to see what fits our needs and have room for growth in our uptown business district. “The city is currently working on a new sports complex that would be the catalyst of driving people from all over the state of Indiana and surrounding states to play here for weekend tournaments. This will drive the demand for more business. More details will be released in the near future.
We’re also looking for more development on the State Road 28/37 corridor.”
With your second term in office halfway through, what would you say are the biggest successes and biggest struggles as mayor?
“Our biggest successes would be continuing to remove blight in the community, seeing new home development, continuing to see the success of Elwood Golf Links and Bison Ridge. Being able to see our school golf teams participating out there helps drive more people into our community. I am also proud of our continued appreciation of the arts – we’re currently working with INDOT to have murals painted on the switch boxes where the stoplights are.
“We also continue to apply for the Community Crossings Grants, and have invested nearly $2 million in the past two years to repair existing infrastructure.
“The biggest obstacles we have come from misinformation on social media. People get on there and post things that are half true or not even close to true. We’re working on changing the reputation of the community from the outside in. We’ve improved the city by removing blight and increasing our curb appeal, but people still see some of the goofiness that is posted and isn’t true. That’s just the nature of society, unfortunately.”
Do you plan to run for another term?
“With the list of rumored candidates I have heard will run, there is no way I can walk away from this office and leave the city in their hands. My name will be on the ballot if the current lists of rumored candidates run.”