A Look Ahead: Westfield rings in New Year with dramatic change
When a city is the fastest-growing in the state and the sixth-fastest growing in the United States, each year is bound to bring change, and 2024 looks to be no different with changes in leadership, construction projects throughout the city, expansion in the school system and more.
Jan. 1 marked a complete turnover in leadership for Westfield when it comes to the mayor, the city council members and the clerk-treasurer. All offices are held Republicans.
Mayor Scott Willis replaces Andy Cook as the second mayor in the history of Westfield. Cook served for 16 years as Westfield’s first and only mayor but chose not to run for a fifth term. Willis defeated Republicans Kristen Burkman and Jake Gilbert in the May primary.
Westfield residents not only elected a new mayor, but they also elected a new city council. Only Victor McCarty has previously served as a council member, having been chosen by a caucus of the Hamilton County Republican Party to fill the District 3 seat vacated by Joe Edwards, who died in September 2023. McCarty will, however, move from the District 3 seat to the District 2 seat, based on updated district lines since Edwards was elected in 2019.
Other new council members include Jon Dartt for District 1, Joe Duepner for District 3, Patrick Tamm for District 4, Noah Herron for District 5, and Chad Huff and Kurt Wanninger as at-large council members.
Marla Ailor will step into the role of clerk-treasurer, having defeated Tonya Hyatt in the primary and running unopposed in November. Ailor has been serving as clerk-treasurer since the previously elected clerk-treasurer, Cindy Gossard, retired in January 2023.
“I don’t know if any city in Indiana has seen the amount of transition we are going to see in Westfield,” Mayor Scott Willis told Current last fall. “Every elected office is going to be new. I’m not saying it’s never happened, but it is something that will be a unique challenge. I think we are all focused on doing what’s best for Westfield, and I’m just excited to get going.”
Willis has appointed former Washington Township Trustee Danielle Carey Tolan to be the chief of staff; former Westfield Fire Department office manager Peg Strauss to be the executive operations manager; City of Carmel Redevelopment Commission Deputy Director Jenell Fairman to be the director of economic development; former Westfield Welcome Director Kayla Arnold to be communications director; and former City of Lawrence attorney Kaitlin Voller Glazier to be Westfield’s first city attorney.
Westfield businesswoman and former Student Impact Board President Jamie Mills has been selected by caucus as the new Washington Township trustee, Kelley Wells will step up as Westfield Welcome manager and Courtney Albright was recently named the president of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce.
“We are going to have the most diverse staff in Hamilton County,” Willis said.
Also In 2024, Westfield voters will head to the polls for the May 7 primary and Nov. 5 general elections. At the local level, school board seats will be on the ballot.
- Westfield Washington Public Library — Just over a year ago, Westfield Washington Public Library and Westfield Washington Township broke ground on a 3.6-acre property at the corner of Westfield Boulevard and Park Street. Now, the 55,000-square-foot facility is taking shape with an anticipated completion date in May 2024. Sheryl Sollars, WWPL has said the new building will be a centerpiece in the heart of Westfield’s expanding downtown and will provide a great gathering space for the public. When the new building is completed, Sollars hopes that the moving process will take around three weeks.
- Union Square at Grand Junction — Construction is underway on the lower level of Union Square at Grand Junction, a more than 300,000-square-foot mixed-use building with retail on the main floor, apartments on the upper floors and a public parking garage starting on a lower level and continuing up the center of the building.
- The Ascension St. Vincent YMCA — The YMCA broke ground in early December at 874 Virginia Rose Ave. on a facility which will be connected to the existing Westfield Aquatic Center. The new 54,000 square foot facility will include standard YMCA amenities, such as a wellness center, indoor pool, gymnasium, youth programs and classes for adults. The construction of Ascension St. Vincent of the Greater YMCA in Westfield is projected to be completed by January 2025. Russell also said that until the facility is finished, the YMCA will continue to offer swim lessons, water fitness and lap swimming at the Westfield Aquatic Center. For more, visit indymca.org/ymca-westfield.
Other buildings under construction include:
- The Learning Experience — a 10,000-square-foot day care facility at 17415 Spring Mill Rd.
- Grand Millennium Medical Office Building — a 60,000-square-foot medical office building located on around 4 acres off of Westfield Boulevard near West Park Street.
- Guidepost Montessori Daycare — an approximately 10,000-square-foot daycare facility on the east side of Grassy Branch Road near Washington Woods Elementary School.
- Holiday Inn Express — a nearly 60,000-square-foot, 97-room hotel at the southwest corner of U.S. 31 and 191st St.
- Market District at Wheeler Landing — a grocery store just under 50,000 square feet at the corner of Grand Park Boulevard and East Tournament Trail.
- PetSuites Westfield — an 11,242 square foot pet-oriented business at 17502 Carey Rd.
- Raising Cane’s — a more than 2,000-square-foot fast food restaurant on more than an acre on Thatcher Lane where the old Steak and Shake used to be.
- Slim Chickens — a close to 4,100-square-foot fast food restaurant at 100 E. Spring Mill Pointe Dr.
- Multi-tenant developments including Bonterra, The Depot at Spring Mill Station, Highground 55+ boutique apartments, Midland South Townhomes, TWG Grand Park Lake Village and Wheelhouse Apartments.
As part of Westfield Washington Schools’ plans to accommodate growth in Westfield, construction is underway and more will be beginning in the next several months.
Expected to be completed for the 2024-25 school year are renovations at Carey Ridge Elementary School as well as 15 new tennis courts at 17695 Shamrock Blvd. which will include a team locker room and concessions area as well.
In addition, WWS expects to hold groundbreakings on the following projects in 2024:
- Virginia F. Wood Early Learning Center — expansion at 19500 Tomlinson Rd.
- New Shamrock Springs Elementary School — at 747 W. 161st St.
- Middle Crossing Elementary school at 171st Street and Towne Road.
- New Transportation facility — at Ind. 32 and Centennial Road
- New middle school — at Ind. 32 and Centennial Road
- WWS Event Center — Once the library has moved to its new location, renovation and expansion of the current library space will begin to convert the vacated space at 333 W. Hoover St. into an event center, a home for Shamrock Connections, Foodies Rock and the Rock Shop.
For more, visit wws.k12.in.us/about-us/destination-westfield.
Grand Park Sports Campus Area
The City of Westfield announced recently that a newly formed entity, Grand Park Sports & Entertainment, will take over management and development of Grand Park. The public-private partnership involves Keystone Group, Indy Sports & Entertainment, Indy Eleven and Bullpen Ventures and comes at the conclusion of a 21-month evaluation process by a city-formed review committee.
Indy Sports & Entertainment and Bullpen Ventures will manage the youth sports facilities. They will also work to attract large sporting and entertainment events and diversify Grand Park’s current sports offerings. Keystone Group, an Indianapolis-based developer of mixed-use properties such as Eleven Park, the 20,000-seat multi-purpose stadium coming to downtown Indianapolis, will be the development partner for Grand Park. The City of Westfield will retain ownership of Grand Park, with the terms of the memorandum of understanding outlining Grand Park Sports & Entertainment’s commitment to the development and management of the campus for up to 40 years, valued at $300 million to the City of Westfield.
Grand National Racquetball Center — Construction can also be expected on one of the large racquet club north of Grand Park Events Center at 308 E. 191st St. According to developer Birch Dalton, projections for the space include 36 indoor pickleball courts, 10 indoor tennis courts and seven squash. In the meantime, Dalton leased space at Grand Park Events Center for the Holiday Pickleball Festival and the APP National Collegiate Pickleball Tournament and Midwest Open Dec. 15 through Jan. 7. For more, go to grandnationalracquetcenter.com.
Grand Universe — An immersive center for science, space and technology plans to break ground on April 8, the day of the total solar eclipse, on property adjacent to Grand Park. Once complete, the Grand Universe campus will span 78 acres and will offer hands-on opportunities including a fully operational replica of NASA’s mission control center, an 8K ultra-high-definition digital planetarium and a virtual reality theater. For more, go to granduniverse.org.
In addition to the groundbreaking, the City of Westfield will host solar eclipse festivities at Grand Park Sports Campus from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 8. In addition to experiencing total darkness, attendees will be able to enjoy live music by The 1985 Band, menu items from food trucks, inflatables and other attractions.
Grand Universe will be onsite to educate attendees about the solar eclipse and its history and will have hydrogen-alpha solar telescopes available for viewing. Special guest Dr. Mark SubbaRao, Director of NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will also be present.
A limited number of tickets are available for pre-purchase at $100 per standard-size vehicle. Eclipse viewing glasses are included in the admission price. Overnight RV and camper parking will be available for $400 from Sunday to Tuesday in a designated parking lot on Grand Park Sports Campus. For more, go to westfieldwelcome.com/solar-eclipse.