Committee formed to develop area near Indy airport

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Airport Authority and elected officials representing several Central Indiana communities are joining forces in hopes of driving economic growth around the Indianapolis International Airport.

They’re convinced working together could lead to some much-needed tax dollars and new jobs.

“The advanced planning has enabled the airport to land hubs like Fedex,” said John Krauss, director of the Indiana University Public Policy Institute. Krauss said there is plenty of room for economic growth, which was the original design.

“It’s probably 10,000 to 15,000 acres that’s available that’s close to the airport,” said Mike Wells, president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board.

Airport officials met with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and other elected officials representing nearby counties, towns and townships at the airport on Wednesday to sign an agreement recognizing the ‘AeroVision’ committee and their plans.

“This seems like a simple thing, but it’s not because, over the years, the friction and distrust has been built up around the airport between the western townships, the Hendricks County folks and the city of Indianapolis,” Ballard said.

Airport officials said the two buildings that make up the old airport will be demolished in a few months to make the site that offers direct airfield access even more marketable to future tenants.

“One of the things we’re looking at is specialized freight that would fly out of Indianapolis directly to Europe. We have some of that today, but we want to encourage that and maybe get into the pharmaceutical business, the high value goods that may be able to transfer out of Indianapolis,” Well said, referring to the property owned by the airport.

“We’re the 11th largest city in the country, and it puts us at a better advantage,” said Maggie Lewis, president of the Indianapolis City-County Council about the partnerships.

“Other airports are landlocked. They have to go through a laborious, painful process of getting land. We have the land. Let’s take advantage of the assets we have,” Krauss said.

The airport is currently working on two smaller projects: a solar farm and a service plaza that will include a gas station, car wash and several fast food restaurants among other options.