Mayor: Kokomo Becoming 'Destination'

Posted: Updated:
KOKOMO -

While many traditional automotive communities continue to lose jobs and population, Kokomo, once described by Forbes as one of America's "fastest-dying cities," is showing signs of bucking that trend. In the midst of unprecedented investment in its downtown, Kokomo saw an increase, albeit a small one, in population from 2016 to 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Forecasts have suggested the city could lose as much as 2 percent of its population annually. "A lot of it has to do with our strategic investments," said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, who notes Bloomberg recently ranked the city as having the third-best jobs improvement in the country since the recession, when local unemployment topped 20 percent. Goodnight calls the turnaround a team effort. "Our private business, our large employers, have doubled down and stuck with Kokomo and invested and Indiana University Kokomo and our local school systems have really put together a quality product for young people."

In an interview on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick, Goodnight talked about a resurgence he feels is just beginning.

While the Kokomo economy remains heavily dependent on manufacturing, there are signs of diversity in the city's business mix to include companies focused on advanced industries.

AndyMark Inc. is a robotics parts supplier that distributes to more than 70 countries from its Kokomo headquarters and is in the midst of a $1.5 million expansion expected to add 30 jobs over three years.

Green Cubes Technology develops and manufactures advanced battery power systems and is building a 20,000 square foot facility at its Kokomo headquarters, with plans to add more than 70 jobs. The company says the city’s robust engineering talent pipeline was a major factor in its expansion decision.

To keep and attract talent needed to fuel the local economy, the third-term Democrat mayor has designs on doubling down on his quality of place investment strategy.

In his spring State of the City address, Goodnight announced plans for improvements along Wildcat Creek, a new dog park near the Industrial Heritage Trail, a new transit city and a downtown hotel and conference center.

"We all know that it's all about talent attraction, and that relates to quality of place" said Goodnight. "And that's exactly what we're trying to do, create the best place for people to live, and I think it's happening and it's working.”

  • Perspectives

    • Want Your Startup to Move Faster? Use Two Military Strategies

      Speed is everything at a startup. So is discipline. By that, I mean the discipline to stay focused on the most important objectives, to do the late nights and early mornings when we don’t want to do them, and to see the results of our work as objectively as possible. It’s not easy, especially when speed and discipline often seem at odds. We think about this a lot here at Powderkeg. How do we move as fast as possible while remaining as disciplined as possible? We recently...

    More

Subscribe

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

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Infosys Hub to 'Reskill' Workforce

      India-based Infosys, which today broke ground on a $35 million U.S. Education Center in Indianapolis, says the campus is focused on preparing the American workforce for the technology jobs of the future. "Continuous learning and reskilling are core components of Infosys' DNA," said Chief Operating Officer UB Pravin, adding the company will use the facility on the former Indianapolis International Airport terminal site to train 10,000 new American hires.

    • 'Proven Leaders' to Head New Two-Year College

      Marian University has named Jeffrey Jourdan executive director of Saint Joseph's College of Marian University - Indianapolis, its new two-year institution. Michael Nichols will serve as associate director and dean of SJC@MU. In October, Marian and Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer detailed a partnership to launch the school near Marian's Indianapolis campus. St. Joe suspended operations in 2017 after massive debt responsibilities forced the school into an attempted rebirth.

    • Renovations Coming to Edinburgh Premium Outlets

      Renovations are coming to Edinburgh Premium Outlets as plans have been announced by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG). Construction is set to begin this fall. The multi-million dollar plans include an archway sign, two new courts visible from I-65 on the east side of the property and a food truck plaza on the southwest corner.

    • Crouch, OCRA to Detail Program For Small Businesses

      State officials will Monday announce a new program they say will benefit small businesses throughout the state. The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs says the program will help Main Street organizations in Indiana retain small businesses and entrepreneurs.

    • Senators Tim Lanane (left) and Eddie Melton outlined the caucus' agenda Friday.

      Teacher Pay, Medical Marijuana Among Senate Dems' Focus

      The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus has unveiled its legislative agenda for the 2019 General Assembly. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-25) says the caucus will be focused on three main priorities: raising teacher salaries, protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions and legalizing medical marijuana. The caucus says it will also continue to push for a statewide hate crimes law, as well as legislation to stop gerrymandering. Lanane announced the caucus' priorities Friday...