Frankfort Mayor: 'Build it And They Will Come'

Posted: Updated:
Chris McBarnes is in his second term as mayor of Frankfort. Chris McBarnes is in his second term as mayor of Frankfort.

While numerous Hoosier small town downtowns are struggling, the mayor of Frankfort says a revitalization plan aimed at attracting talent in his city is gaining momentum. This weekend, Chris McBarnes helped christen Nickle Plate Flats, a $7.2 million downtown apartment complex complete with electric vehicle charging stations and other amenities. The second-term Republican mayor believes the apartment development and other projects are already beginning to attract talent to Frankfort. "People thought we were crazy when we first brought this idea to the table... (they said) never in Frankfort," said McBarnes. "Out of the 18 or 19 leases that have already been signed, 16 of those individuals have never lived in Frankfort or Clinton County before."

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, McBarnes said despite challenges, small town revitalization is possible throughout the state.

Adjacent to Nickle Plate Flats, plans are moving forward with development of a $4.5 million greenspace known as Prairie Creek Park, a venue that will provide performing arts space, a splash pad, vendor areas, dog park, playground and other recreational opportunities.

The park is expected to open in time for the annual Frankfort Hot Dog Festival in July 2019.

McBarnes says quality of place improvements in Frankfort are being fueled, in part, by the need to attract talent for local agribusiness and advanced manufacturing companies, including Frito-Lay, Federal-Mogul Corp. and NHK Seating of America.

"We are the city that feeds the state and feeds the world, but what I'm hearing from my plant managers is we need bodies, we can't find people to fill the jobs," said McBarnes, who believes the pressure is on rural communities to think differently. "We've got to create an environment that attracts top talent... that's how we're going to create more jobs and make ourselves sustainable."

View full interview:

  • Perspectives

    • Market Volatility - Fodder for Financial Fears

      Fact: The value of the stock market goes up and down.  It’s called “market volatility”.  How concerned should you be with a thousand point change in the index? Since your reaction can impact your personal portfolio, it’s most important that you have a good perspective. Significant price movements in the stock market grabbed headlines and captivated media pundits throughout 2018. The last week of the year the market experienced large price swings...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Silberline Closing Decatur Facility

      Pennsylvania-based Silberline Manufacturing Co. is detailing plans to close its facility in Adams County. In a notice to the state, the company says the closure will result in the layoffs of 50 employees.

    • Airport Board Approves New Concessions Vendors

      The Indianapolis Airport Authority Board has approved new contracts for several retail and services vendors at Indianapolis International Airport. The contracts are the first of several approvals that are expected as part of the airport's Concessions Refresh initiative, which aims to increase the local focus among vendors. Marsha Stone, senior director of commercial enterprise at the airport, says the effort will be one of the most impactful public-facing projects that...

    • Two Indiana Banks on Forbes Best List

      Forbes has ranked the best banks in the country and Indiana has placed two on the list. First Merchants Bank finished 2nd, and Old National Bancorp came in at 97. The metrics used by the publication include tangible common equity, return on average assets, net interest margin,  efficiency ratio and net charge-offs as a percentage of total loans. 

    • Jones to Retire as Old National CEO

      Evansville-based Old National Bancorp has announced Chief Executive Officer Bob Jones will retire in May, after 14 years with the bank. Chief Financial Officer Jim Ryan, who has been with Old National since 2000, will succeed Jones. Jones will continue to serve as Old National's chairman of the board through January 2020.

    • 'Unique' Coworking Space Opens in Greenfield

      A new coworking space in Hancock County aims to fill an underserved need in east central Indiana. Idea Co-op features a traditional indoor coworking area, along with 36 acres of outdoor space that can be used by members. The coworking space is operated by Greenfield-based NineStar Connect and director of business and economic development Jill Snyder says the outdoor aspect makes it a unique concept for the region.