WESTFIELD, Ind. - The City of Westfield announced this month that four more companies will build there and bring more than 1,000 high-paying jobs in five years.
Mayor Andy Cook said this economic growth is all part of a plan developed years ago. The first phase of the plan was building Grand Park to attract the hospitality industry. He said the second phase diversifies the city with more advanced manufacturing businesses.
"One of my favorite questions is, 'Why in the world would you pick Westfield, Indiana?'” Cook said. "We have been able to create a place, an environment, with good schools, financial management and transportation system."
Cook believes the population in Westfield has nearly doubled in roughly 10 years. He said it is something they have prepared for. The city is expanding State Road 32 and adding roundabouts to manage traffic.
"There is really no congestion area today we do not have a plan for," he said.
Companies are claiming pieces of land in Westfield. The Northpoint Industrial Park is starting to run out of room. This month, the city announced two additional companies -- Abbott and Gordon Food Service -- will build there.
Abbott will create a new medical device production facility that will bring in more than 450 jobs. The new space will house production of Abbott’s MitraClip transcatheter mitral valve repair system.
Gordon Food Service will construct a $160 million distribution center in Westfield. The company plans to hire more than 400 employees.
Cook claims companies are attracted to Westfield because of a good school system, amenities like Grand Park and easy access to the city from U.S. 31.
"It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of planning to get here," Cook said.
Residents are noticing the expansion too. Westfield Washington Schools is adding buildings to prepare for more students. The district expects roughly 1,100 additional students to move to the area in the next seven years and is trying to prepare for them now.
There are projects at the middle school, intermediate school and high school. Construction and renovations for the middle and intermediate schools should finish by the end of 2019.
Work is expected to be done at the high school a few months later.
New homes are also filling up wide open spaces. There were 687 building permits in 2016 for single-family homes in Westfield. That number jumped to 895 permits in 2018.
"There has been a lot of changes since we got here just a couple years ago," said Amy Stephenson, a Westfield resident.
Most people who live near these economic development projects support the growth. Although, some worry about impacts on traffic since these companies will bring more people to the area.
"Areas congested now that weren’t ten years ago. Kind of to be expected," said Westfield resident Jim Garrard. "Sort of the dense residential areas that bring a lot of traffic, I think that has been the biggest concern. I would say more so than the industrial industry bringing jobs here."
A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on the long-awaited Grand Junction Plaza in downtown Westfield will take place on Thursday. The $35M project is slated to be complete in the summer of 2021.