Despite traffic concerns, Fishers council enthusiastically approves IKEA plan

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FISHERS, Ind. (Nov. 16, 2015) -- Some of the people living near the proposed site of Indiana's first IKEA store showed up at a council meeting Monday to express concern about the project, but city councilors gave it a big green light.

"Fishers is changing," councilor Richard Block said.

"It's one of the best retailers in the world," Mayor Scott Fadness said.

Those are some of the buzz words and phrases floating around Fishers since the news broke that IKEA wants to set up shop for the first time in Indiana.

One buzz word you'll hear from some of the people who live near the proposed 116th Street site, though, is traffic.

"I shop at IKEA in Cincinatti and I think it’s a wonderful store. I think it’s going to do wonderful things here in the city of Fishers, (but) my concern is the location. I am concerned about the traffic," resident Mike Lacure said.

"I’m very excited about IKEA personally, but the traffic I’m not," resident Grace Miller said.

Monday marked the first time Fishers city councilors and the public talked about the proposal.

"We heard about (IKEA) last Tuesday and there really hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for the residents of Fishers to weigh in," resident Steve Mathis said.

Mayor Scott Fadness said the city is working on the traffic issues and believes that is has time to complete projects like a 106th Street exit off of I-69 before IKEA plans to open in the Fall of 2017.

"We are sensitive to the traffic issues, we’re going to continue to be aggressive about dealing with those issues," Fadness said.

He also pointed out that the area was already zoned for commercial use and that his office believed IKEA was beneficial for commuters in particular.

"IKEA does not open until 10:00 in the morning, so our AM commuters would not be impacted. ... Statistically (representatives) will tell you that between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. is their slowest time period for folks to come and visit the store, which also plays well for us," Fadness said.

As for city councilors, their support for IKEA was clear, as they voted unanimously to sign off on the initial economic development deal and made it clear the revered retailer is coming to Fishers.

"I think they’re a perfect fit for our community," councilor Todd Zimmerman said.

"I appreciate everyone coming out and expressing their concerns about it, but IKEA is going to be a great corporate citizen. We’re looking forward to having them as part of our community," councilor John Weingardt said.

The store will need to get approval for some other aspects of its plan, which is expected to happen in the coming months.

The city of Fishers offered to waive $1.6M in fees for the company and also offered a tax break if the city does not complete road work in the area by the time the store opens.