Noblesville working to expand downtown west of the White River

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – City leaders in Noblesville are looking to extend their downtown west of the White River.

“The reason for that is certainly to think of Noblesville not only (the east) side of the river, but also the west side of the river,” Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear said. “It’s an opportunity for us to encourage more businesses downtown and more people obviously downtown just to make it better.”

The city opened Federal Hill Commons this year just west of the river, which has become a new community gathering place that includes a pavilion, playground and picnic area.

This weekend alone the venue will host a farmer’s market, movie night and concert.

“We just want to make it more vibrant, more attractive to particularly to I say millennials, but all people really,” Ditslear said.

In addition to Federal Hill Commons, BlueSky Technology Partners opened its new corporate headquarters on the west side of the river this year and a new Bru Burger also plans to open a store in that building.

To attract more restaurants like Bru Burger, Noblesville city leaders have offered restaurants that are within 1,500 feet of the river discounted liquor licenses for $1,000 through a designated downtown economic district.

“Additional liquor licenses will help will benefit things like (Bru Burger) being able to come downtown,” Noblesville Planning and Development Director Sarah Reed said.

In another effort to improve the downtown, city leaders are currently looking for a landscaper to come in and beautify both the east and west sides of the river.

“We are trying to bring a ‘wow’ factor, kind of create an aesthetic appeal,” Reed said. “As you come into Noblesville you’ll know you’re here and you’ll know you’ve left.”

However, some business owners on the east side of the river say the development on the west side is good, but it’s not really helping out their business.

“I like the idea they are doing things to try and promote the downtown, but I’m not sure it’s going to be a good winner so to speak, hope it is but time will tell,” Noblesville Clock Company Owner Tony Vantassell said.

In addition to those projects, Noblesville city leaders are also part of a group studying the entire White River to see what amenities could be added to make the river more of an asset for the folks of Marion and Hamilton Counties.