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Hebron seeks input on new comprehensive plan

The city of Hebron is seeking input from residents on how its comprehensive plan, last adopted on August 17, 2010, should be updated. The event, which opened in May 2021, served to bring people together for education and collect their contributions.

The modern-rustic space provided food and drink in a relaxed atmosphere where residents could peruse a long series of information boards laying out various options for how the town should move forward, in areas ranging from branding to housing to parks and recreation. John Spinks, D-3, City Council President and lifelong Hebron resident, said the state requires cities and towns to develop and update comprehensive plans to compete for certain grants.

“We are truly in the midst of the greatest economic growth Hebron has ever experienced. “At this point, we are looking for development,” he said.

Carol Wallace, left, a 52-year resident of Hebron, and Laura Roeske, whose husband’s family has farmed in Hebron since the 1800s, work on an information board about possible comprehensive plan updates at The Design Barn on Jan. 31, 2024.

“We know we are attracting interest from developers that past councils have not had,” Spinks added. He said there is a long list of national residential and commercial builders interested in the town, as well as industrial builders from across the state. For example, development of the new Park Ridge subdivision north of Little League Park and west of State Road 231 is currently underway.

There are 138 single-family lots in Phase I of Park Ridge, which is currently under construction. There will be 147 lots in the next phase.

“People think Hebron is really far away, but when they get there they realize it’s only 20 minutes away,” said Michaline Tomich, owner of Design Barn. “Small town is trending. “There is a really great employee pool here.” Tomich thinks infrastructure is needed first and small businesses like his will follow.

Community planner HWC Engineering of Indianapolis has been meeting with a project steering committee made up of town elected leaders, business owners and other community leaders since September. Adam Peaper, from HWC and project manager for the update, said it was funded by a government grant from the Office for Community and Rural Affairs.

“It has to be community-focused,” Peaper said of the plan, but feasibility should always be kept in mind. “We cannot implement 100 ideas.”

Jack Lipski, branch manager of Hebron and Kouts Public Libraries and member of the Parks Board of Directors and Chamber of Commerce, thinks the committee is on the right track. They said, “There’s something in this town and I want to do what I can.” “Hopefully they can get enough people behind them.”

In fact, the crowd present wasn’t very large considering the huge space, but those in attendance were fully engaged and engaged in answering voting questions on the boards. Mike Justice and Frank Stalbaum, both of Hebron, got into a deep conversation about the issues facing the town.

Stalbaum is particularly concerned about Hebron’s growth rate. “How do you do it right to get the right balance without causing problems?” He asked. “When do you lose the small town feel? “Personally, I don’t want it to turn into the Four Seasons Lakes.”

Justice said the new transplants are most interested in things to do in town. “This is the first time anyone here has heard of the town asking its people for their opinion,” he said. “There are people like Frank who have been here since the beginning of time, and there are people who are new (who) want ways.”

Betty and Jim Starkey, who have lived in the town for 50 years, echoed his views. “Finally someone is asking people to come and give their input on what they think is right for the town,” Betty Starkey said. “This is great. I’m so glad to see this.”

The information board, on display at The Design Barn on January 31, 2024, aims to inform residents about housing issues in the city and collect their feedback.  Some residents clarified the issue with sticky notes.
The information board, on display at The Design Barn on January 31, 2024, aims to inform residents about housing issues in the city and collect their feedback. Some residents clarified the issue with sticky notes.

For Jim Starkey, these efforts are a sign that everything old is new again. “The town had more to do 40 years ago than it does now,” he said of his time raising children there. “’They had a great 4th of July thing at school.”

Laura Roeske, whose husband’s family has farmed in Hebron since the 1800s, said her goal was to create a sense of being able to live, work and shop in the town. For years, most people came here to lay their heads but worked and shopped elsewhere.

“We once had a vibrant shopping community,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be the coolest place.”

Fifty-two-year resident Carol Wallace wants a grocery store because she lived without one in town after Patz closed nearly eight years ago. “I know you can go to Dollar General and buy milk, but you can’t buy meat and lettuce.”

Those interested in learning more about the comprehensive plan update process, content areas, or how to get involved can visit www.planhebron.com.

Shelley Jones is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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