Ligonier’s Mayor Fisel plans to continue improvement in 2019
By Kayla Brennan | KPC Media - The News Sun
In 2018, Ligonier completed phase one of the Strawberry Valley Cultural Trail, annexed 240 acres of land for more housing, investigated a double homicide and improved its roads.
And Mayor Patty Fisel has even more plans for 2019.
Fisel spoke at Ligonier’s State of the City address Monday night. Her love of the city and pride for the improvements made were evident in her speech.
“Ligonier is a very prosperous, proactive and successful community,” Fisel said.
But what should we expect to see in 2019? In her approximately 30-minute speech, she disclosed what people could look forward this year.
Housing developer Granite Ridge is in talks with building inspector Earle Franklin to buy some of the annexed land south of U.S. 6 along S.R. 5.
“Between north of Union Street and Carlex, we’ve got a developer that is in the process of buying 24 acres,” Fisel said.
Approximately 60 houses can be built on that property with some of that space holding three homes on 1 acre. There need to be a few adjustments to the plans, so the city is waiting to hear Granite Ridge’s second proposal.
City officials met with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and learned that a median might be installed on some of Ligonier’s most-traveled roads.
“INDOT is reviewing U.S. 6, S.R. 5 and U.S. 33,” Fisel said. “They are looking at the possibility of median barriers at that intersection.”
She doesn’t have many details yet, but INDOT representatives told her there are too many driveways at that intersection and too many drivers. More details will be revealed once she gets them.
She continued with the status of the sewer separation project. Although the city did not get the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grants the past two application cycles for the project, Fisel intends on trying again this cycle to earn the money.
“That’s a $600,000 grant, and we have to match that 20 percent,” Fisel said. “We’re going to go for it again.”
The city already did a separation of the sewers on the north and east sides of the city in the past, but due to the quick depletion of money, the projects were not fully completed. This grant would allow the city to finish the separations.
The city hired Fashion Farm Countryscapes to install five new entry signs in the city. The signs are bought and paid for and will be installed once the weather breaks.
She also wants to maintain the regional connection with the county through trails and housing. One of her long-term goals is to have the trails connect to cities throughout the county. With that said though, she doesn’t want Ligonier to lose its uniqueness.
“Everyone keeps pushing regional, regional, regional,” Fisel said. “We want to be good team players, but I personally think we have to be careful. I think you can lose your identity if you get too regional. I think we need to watch that, but we will continue with that idea.”
The next phase of the Strawberry Valley Cultural Trail will begin construction this spring. The existing trail from Bridge Street to Martin Street will be widened and paved. Bids will be accepted in April.
Two new businesses will be added to the industrial park. One of those is a recycling center. The second is a powder coating plant, according to Fisel.
Finally, the city will finalize the plans this year for the new fire station in 2020.
Fisel also went over some of the highlights of 2018 by reminding those in attendance of the projects that were completed last year. Some of those improvements include the newly-asphalted streets made possible by the Community Crossings grant, the water department upgrade, the completion of phase one of the Strawberry Valley Cultural Trail, the new bridge on Pigeon Street, the repaired viaduct on S.R. 5 and the introduction of the record-keeping Spillman program into the police department.
She is also satisfied with the investigation of the double homicide that occurred last year.
“Within one year of a double homicide in our city, the investigation is almost complete,” Fisel said. “Two out of three are convicted. The shooter was captured, convicted, and he will serve 170 years. Kudos to everyone who was involved with that.”
With all of that said. She finished with a bold statement.
“The state of the city of Ligonier is the most successful, progressive city in Indiana,” Fisel said. “So be proud of it.”