A key route near Indianapolis stands a much better chance of reaching its potential thanks to a wide swath of community leadership coming together to create an overarching vision.

Mount Comfort Road is on the eastern flank of metro area growth and crosses Interstate 70 at a newly upgraded interchange. However, its 14 miles are overseen by several units of government. Existing development is uneven and an understanding of its economic potential was just beyond reach.

Fortunately, an organic groundswell of leadership from across public, private and nonprofit sectors recognized a need for organized, higher aspirations. Helping spearhead the effort were Hancock Health, a hospital system, and NineStar Connect, a utility, both headquartered in nearby Greenfield. The municipalities of Cumberland, McCordsville and New Palestine were at the table, as were other units of government.

Thomas P. Miller & Associates enlisted Urban Land Institute to guide the proponents through an exercise to broaden perspectives of the corridor’s future. Dialogue was elevated to a regional level, and industries with the greatest potential were identified.

Meanwhile, Hancock Health pressed ahead with a plan to build an outpatient care facility at the interchange. NineStar, the only rural cooperative in the nation offering fiber optic, electricity, and water and sewer services, extended a high-speed fiber network to the location.

NineStar also was awarded $2.3 million in loan and grant funds through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program to help Hancock Health buy medical equipment and supplies for the new facility. The sum was the largest such award in the program’s history and the first in over a decade to a rural telecommunications cooperative.

The Hancock Health project sets the table for future growth which will be supported by NineStar’s $2 million investment in a 500,000 gallon water tower, bringing additional fire protection and upgraded water services to the corridor.

The facility is scheduled to open in September. A second phase at the location will include a campus with commercial, retail and affordable residential housing.

New development is moving in a focused direction along Mount Comfort Road thanks to forward-thinking leadership and cooperation. Thomas P. Miller & Associates specializes in bringing optimists together. To learn how TPMA can help you, contact us today.