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

    • A Pro Photographer Can Be Your Best Friend

      It's no surprise that an estimated 8.8 trillion photos were taken worldwide during 2018, given that most of us carry high-quality cameras in our phones. But shooting all those photos doesn't make us photographers. Digital technology has become a powerful equalizer in so many ways. Everyday people have access to tools that are far more sophisticated than what professionals had at their disposal a couple decades ago. High-school-age musicians can craft 24-track studio recordings in the...
    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

    • Local Real Estate Team Appoints CEO

      Evelo Team, with Keller Williams Realty, has promoted Hannah Perkey to chief executive officer. She started with the team in 2015 and most recently served as director of operations. As CEO, Perkey will continue in the role that she has expanded into which includes oversight of all daily activities, leading the sales team, and providing strategic direction to the team.

    • Chamber Unveils 'Best Places to Work'

      The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its list of the Best Places to Work in Indiana. This year's list features 125 companies throughout the state, including more than 40 that were not on the list last year. The chamber will unveil company rankings April 30 at an awards dinner at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Winners are sorted into four categories based on size. Out-of-state parent companies must have at least 15 full-time employees in Indiana to...

    • Amendment Makes Major Change to Hate Crimes Bill

      A bill that would allow for longer sentences for hate crimes is moving forward with a significant change. Our partners at WIBC report the Senate passed an amendment Tuesday that removed the list of individual groups that would be covered under the law. Originally, Senate Bill 12 said a sentence could be lengthened if someone convicted of a crime was found to have deliberately targeted someone based on factors including race, religion, and sexual orientation, among others.

    • Lev Bringing Headquarters to Indy

      Marketing technology consulting firm Lev has announced plans to relocate its headquarters to Indianapolis. The company, which is currently based in Arizona, says it plans to hire 70 employees this year, part of a previously-announced effort to create up to 175 jobs by 2021. Lev has had a presence in Indianapolis for nearly three years and Chief Executive Officer Michael Burton says, since that time, the company has outgrown every space it has occupied in Indy. In an interview with...

    • Mixed-Use Project Proposed For Speedway Main Street

      A Fishers-based commercial real estate development firm is proposing an $8 million mixed-use development in Speedway. Rebar Development says the project would redevelop a section of Main Street that would include residential, office and retail space.