Charlestown First

This week a petition to stop the City of Charlestown from assuming $2.5 million of bond debt circulated. County Clerk verification of registered voters’ signatures indicates that the effort produced a valid petition for remonstrance. Some people might be wondering why others signed this petition. I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I signed.

I signed the petition because I believe in Charlestown First.

Redevelopment is the buzz word for today. We’re told that the opening of the new East End bridge and industrial growth in River Ridge is going to be the next big BOOM for Charlestown. Lots of effort has gone into determining what that should look like.

I don’t think anyone who lives in Charlestown is against seeing a revival of the numerous vacant businesses in town. That’s not why I signed the petition.

I signed the petition because I believe in Charlestown First.

To date, the people who stand to benefit the most from current redevelopment plans are not from Charlestown. Here’s a brief snapshot…

Andy Card – Fishers, IN

  • Fourth generation owner of Perkins Global Logistics which had a revenue of $72 million.
  • Now pursues “highly-profitable” ventures in real estate, food service, and entertainment.
  • Current co-owner of Klipsch-Card Athletic Facilities, LLC.

Mike Klipsch – Carmel, IN

  • Has a background in executive positions with Klipsch Group, a family owned consumer electronic company.
  • Sold Klipsch Group in 2011 in a $166 million acquisition.
  • Current co-owner of Klipsch-Card Athletic Facilities, LLC.

John Neace – Louisville, KY

  • Founded, built, and sold “one of the nation’s largest insurance brokerages.”
  • Founded multiple businesses and funds development investments in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
  • Current head of Neace Ventures, LLC.

John Hampton – Louisville, KY

  • 35 years of involvement with regional real estate development firms in a variety of finance and accounting positions
  • Current investor in Pleasant Ridge redevelopment project with Neace Ventures and Springville Manor, LLC.

None of these people reside in Charlestown.

All of these people have large amounts of wealth and income.

All of these people stand to make even more money off of Charlestown.

We have paid/are paying outside experts over $100,000* to tell us what we need to do to make our town successful. I don’t doubt the expertise of these people. I’m sure in their respective fields they are the experts they report to be. But…

I signed the petition because I believe in Charlestown First.

Lots of cities and communities are being passed in front of us as examples of what we could be. We could be the

“Carmel of Southern Indiana,

we could “look like Norton Commons,”

we could have great things “like Noblesville.”

But if I wanted any of those things…I’d move there.

I fell in love with Charlestown when I moved here in 2013. The community and love that I’ve witnessed here rival anything I’ve experienced in my time living in various states and communities across the U.S. We don’t need to be anything but us.

Rather than give money to outsiders to tell us what we need to do, why are we not asking ourselves?

Why are we not taking care of Charlestown First?

The wellbeing of a town is not defined only in economic success. In their study of Indiana communities, Maryann O. Keating and Barry P. Keating found that success of a community is rooted in the personal. Strong “levels of trust” and good “quality of social connections” in neighborhoods and workplaces are what make people thrive.

Government officials have little control over job creation and economic conditions. What they can influence is community cohesion. The goal of any leader should be to “accept the uniqueness” of their own town, not replace the people they were elected to serve.

Putting Charlestown First means taking an honest look at who we are. It means being open with communication and plans. It means listening when we talk. It means investing in all of us, not seeking some imagined “ideal” town.

21151669_10105583525192825_1391415809344656573_nWhen citizens trust their leaders the Market will take care of redevelopment all by itself. There’s no need to put outsiders ahead of our own best interests.

The petition process will move into Phase II soon. I hope more people will sign. Stop giving our tax money away to others. Keep it here.

Make Charlestown First

* $38,325 for the city’s Comprehensive Plan development; $7,000 paid to Development Concepts, Inc.; $60,000 paid for Klipsch-Card assessment. (City of Charlestown Appropriation Reports and public resolutions/ordinances)
Ryan Cummins, “Best Town in Indiana? My Town (City Hall Permitting), in Indiana Policy Review (Spring 2017)
Maryann Keating and Barry P. Keating, “Well-Being Across Indiana: Is it Related to Good Governance?” in Indiana Policy Review (Spring 2017)



Author: Treva Hodges

Resident of Charlestown, Indiana. Advocate.

One thought on “Charlestown First”

  1. It’s hard to believe that our mayor beat a million other sperm to the life he’s leading. Our town deserves better than this.


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