Pitch In: Notes from Hamilton County

Notes from all over the County

The Pitch In by Mike Corbett
June - July 2018

Conner Prairie and Ritz Charles will invest more than $3 million to renovate and expand Eli Lilly’s historic Chinese House on the grounds of Conner Prairie near 131st Street and Allisonville Road. They will also build a new pavilion and the facility, to be called The Bluffs at Conner Prairie, will serve as an event venue for weddings and receptions. Ritz Charles will have exclusive catering rights.

Hamilton County Parks

Hamilton County Parks is being recognized for its effort to rescue, renovate and re-use historic bridges that connect White River Campground to Strawtown Koteewi Park. The Great Lakes Park Training Institute awarded their Outstanding Facility Award, Indiana Park and Recreation Association bestowed its Excellence in Landscape Design award, and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) presented a prestigious merit award to the effort. The 285 foot pedestrian bridge required dismantling two historic bridges from Washington and Wayne Counties and reassembling them over the White River. The third span was built using plans from a historic Hamilton County bridge.

Fishers AgriPark

Fishers chose Brandywine Creek Farms, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate hunger by providing locally raised produce to Central Indiana food pantries, to operate a new 30-acre park to be called Fishers AgriPark.  Located at 113th Street and Florida Road, the park will feature crop fields, livestock, aquaponics, an outdoor classroom, farmers market and eating area, as well as beehives and honey production. It will be the largest park in the country dedicated solely to a working farm. Staffed by volunteers, the farm will serve as an educational facility and work to reduce hunger in Fishers.

Noblesville-based HAND Inc. (Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development) is venturing outside the county for the first time, investing more than $2 million to acquire and renovate 17 duplexes in Lebanon, Indiana. Renamed Hickory Commons, the rental community includes a total of 33 leasable units on two cul-de-sacs and will be maintained as affordable apartments for low-income residents.

Jack Russell

Jack Russell, former President of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce, was hired as Chief Operating Officer of OneZone, the Carmel and Fishers chamber of commerce. Jack will be responsible for marketing, communications and operations, and oversee member acquisition and retention, member services and events.

Donna J. Lehman

The Farmers Bank welcomed to its Board of Directors: Donna J. Lehman, founder and co-owner of Noblesville’s Lehman & Company, P.C.

Gregory J. Cagnassola, partner with Fishers law firm DeFur Voran LLP.

 Ashley Roose

Ashley Roose was promoted to Branch Manager at The Farmers Bank Fishers office. 

Alexis (Lexi) Kearney

Alexis (Lexi) Kearney was promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at The Farmers Bank.


Shelby Sparks was promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at the Noblesville Office of The Farmers Bank.

Conner Prairie named David Wagner as director of facilities.

Legacy Fund, the Central Indiana Community Foundation affiliate serving Hamilton County, awarded $123,000 in grants to nine not-for-profit organizations. Receiving funds were:

  • Englishton Park Presbyterian Ministries—$10,000
  • Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County—$25,000
  • Chaucie’s Place (Hamilton County Vesta Foundation for Children)—$20,000
  • Hamilton Heights Educational Foundation—$15,000
  • Connect2Help (Information and Referral Network Inc.)—$6,000
  • Murphy Mentoring Group—$5,000
  • Reins of Grace Therapeutic Riding Center—$12,000
  • Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County—$10,000
  • Trinity Free Clinic—$20,000

The City of Westfield announced the establishment of Westfield Endowment Fund. The $95,000 unrestricted fund will be used to provide grants to organizations within Westfield and managed by the Legacy Fund. The Fund is made possible by a major gift from the Paul and Judy Estridge Family Foundation at Legacy Fund and numerous individual donors in the community.

A new internet-based charter school will focus on agricultural training. Tuition-free, the Indiana Agriculture & Technology School (IATS) will couple online learning with labs and project-based activities. The Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United School Corporation in Trafalgar is IATS’ authorizer. The school will operate 600+ acre farm in Morgan County.

Eleven Fifty Academy, a Fishers-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit technical skills academy secured $330,000 in funding from three organizations: Indy Women in Tech, JPMorgan Chase and Indianapolis Chapter of Society for Information Management.

Fishers-based Aggressively Organic Inc., won a Challenge Prize and People’s Choice award at the Food+City Challenge competition during South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin Texas. The Food+City Challenge Prize is an international competition among early-stage startups that encourages innovation in the urban food system. Aggressively Organic provides affordable grow-at-home hydroponic systems that encourages users to Harvest When Hungry.

New England-based SilverTech acquired Carmel’s Bitwise Solutions, a website design and development firm. SilverTech will retain the current Bitwise Solutions staff, including the long-time ownership team, Ron Brumbarger and Scott Workman, in key leadership roles.

The Kroger Company unveiled  “Scan, Bag, Go,” an app-based checkout system. The device will allow customers to scan and bag products as they shop, monitor prices and coupons, and check out quicker. The Noblesville Kroger at 146th and Hazel Dell is the first Indiana store to offer this service. 

Fishers resident Emily Riley, a Ball State University public history major, is part of a nine person team bringing the history of Indiana’s Delphi Opera House to the public by designing a museum exhibit for the facility.

Westfield Washington Schools is carving out professional development time for its teachers next year. Each Wednesday all WWS schools will delay start times by 30 minutes. End times will remain the same.

Carmel’s Museum of Miniature Houses is celebrating its 25 year anniversary with special exhibits and a Roundtable Discussion with museum founders Suzie Moffett and Suzanne Landshof on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10:00-11:30 a.m.  The museum has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors in that time.