Cicero, Indiana, April 17, 2015: The Town of Cicero and Jackson Township have a new comprehensive plan. The Jackson Township Advisory Board adopted the new combined plan on March 30, 2015, followed by the Cicero Town Council on April 7, 2015. A comprehensive plan serves as the primary guideline for future local decisions on development and redevelopment. It is also anticipated that the Town and the Township will use the Comprehensive Plan as the basis of future grant applications.
Planning Director Paul Munoz said, “This Comprehensive Plan is simply guidelines by which the Town will focus their efforts for future growth. The Plan Commission will use the plan to update the zoning ordinances to facilitate and promote the growth the residence want to see. It includes both a future land use plan and a transportation (thoroughfare) plan. The future land use plan shows the general location for new development and identifies redevelopment and infill opportunities. The thoroughfare plan classifies public roads in the jurisdiction and identifies other transportation considerations, including trails.”
The plan emphasizes Downtown Cicero as the heart of the community, and recommends stepping up efforts to preserve historic structures and improve the appearance, something the new Main Street group will be involved in. The major community facility recommendation is the construction of a new town hall in the downtown. In addition more programming downtown is recommended, such as outdoor concerts and farmers markets, to help downtown businesses and to bring the public downtown. Construction of an outdoor amphitheater is also recommended.
Recreation plays a big role in the community’s future, including more town-controlled access to the waterfront and a redeveloped Red Bridge park with public access to the water. As part of the recreation focus, issues with Morse Reservoir’s water quality and quantity must be solved, and Munoz says partnerships are crucial. “We need to educate residents about the importance of preserving our greatest asset.” In addition to the community park system and the reservoir, recreational opportunities include a complete bicycle and pedestrian network that results in a healthier, more active community. This network will tie into other community trail systems.
The Comprehensive Plan states that Cicero/Jackson Township is best poised for economic development in the form of tourism, with expected overflow from neighboring Grand Park in Westfield and the County’s Strawtown-Koteewi Park as it continues to develop, adding to the attraction of Morse Reservoir. In addition, the proposed US Bicycle Route 35, part of a national bicycle tourism network, is set to go through the township along SR 19.
Indianapolis City Planning Consultant K.K. Gerhart-Fritz, who has been working with the community for 2 years to develop the plan stated that, “The Action Plan portion of this document spells out responsibilities and time frames and requires a level of commitment by government officials and the use of their powers never before taken advantage of. New partnerships will have to be formed and existing partnerships strengthened, because this plan cannot and should not be implemented by local government alone. For this plan to succeed the whole community must pitch in and embrace a pro-active spirit.”