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Outlook on 2024

Outlook on 2024

Looking ahead to the new year, Southside mayors share plans for infrastructure, the economy and other developments

Compiled by Nicole Davis

Local city governments are coming out of the election year with optimism and promise for the new year and beginning of a new (and in one case, first,) term. Entering 2024, local Southside mayors share their goals and hopes for the coming year here, emphasizing excitement for important infrastructure projects and other plans for the future which will make their neighborhoods an even more inviting place to live. Here’s to a great new year!

Jim Coffman

Mayor, Beech Grove

Going into your first term as mayor, what will be some of your top priorities?

As mayor, I want to ensure that the City of Beech Grove continues to be the best place to live, work, visit, and raise a family. In order to achieve this vision, my top priorities are public safety, infrastructure, and development throughout our city. Protecting our citizens and making Beech Grove a safe place for all, improving the infrastructure and walkability of our city, and encouraging economic development and the revitalization of our Main Street will entice more businesses and future citizens to put down roots in our wonderful community.

What do you feel will be the biggest obstacle to overcome?

I believe public safety and crime will continue to be an obstacle for the City of Beech Grove. One of our priorities will be to retain and attract the most qualified police officers by ensuring competitive pay and benefits, while also providing equipment and training that is up to date and reflective of what is happening in the world. Doing so will provide our officers with what is needed to keep our citizens and visitors safe in the coming years.

What projects are you most looking forward to this year?

The Hornet Greenway! This 1.1-mile trail will be the third pedestrian trail constructed in the City of Beech Grove over the last few years. This trail is a joint project funded by the City of Beech Grove and INDOT, with construction starting in the spring of 2024. The Hornet Greenway will begin at the intersection of Emerson and Hornet Avenue, head east around the Hornet Park Community Center before going through the beautiful campus of Beech Grove City Schools. Completion of this project will be early 2025.

What do you feel is the greatest strength of your city, going into the new year?

The greatest strength of Beech Grove is our people: those that live, work, and volunteer here. Our employees truly care about our City and the people that live here. Our elected officials love our City and see its potential. Our employees and elected officials must work together alongside the citizens of our community to strengthen and unify our wonderful City. Together, we can collectively help Beech Grove reach its fullest potential.

Jim Cooney

Mayor, City of Southport

Going into a new term as mayor, what are some of your top priorities for the next year?

Priorities for 2024 include the installation of a new sidewalk and stormwater improvements along South St from West St to Walnut St. Additionally, updating the ordinances to reduce the number of places a particular ordinance can be found.  

What do you feel was the biggest highlight to the city last year?

Our Independence Day parade was a big success in 2023. We moved the date due to rain and most all the parade entries were in the parade, plus attendance was very good.  

What is the biggest challenge the city overcame in 2023? How did it do so?

The biggest challenge the city overcame in 2023 was the power outage in June.  There were areas of the city that had no power for approximately five days. Chief Vaughn was in contact with AES Indiana each day to determine the status of the repairs to the lines. As residents contacted city hall, we gave them accurate information regarding status of the line repairs and the anticipated date and time the power would be on in the various areas that still had power outages.  

What projects are you most looking forward to this year ?

The new sidewalk and storm water improvements along South Street will be a great improvement to that neighborhood. South Street has a lot of foot traffic as well as moms pushing baby strollers, and residents walking their dogs. With the installation of the sidewalk the street will be much safer for pedestrians and cars.  

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