A new study from the Washington D.C.-based Urban Land Institute suggests several opportunities for growth along the Mount Comfort Corridor in Hancock County. The study identifies four "nodes" along the 13-mile stretch that could eventually include town gateways, walkable town centers and quality of life amenities to attract businesses and residents.

The four nodes include McCordsville, Hancock Health Center, Cumberland and New Palestine. The ULI study says Hancock County businesses and government leaders could work to maximize growth opportunities using the following methods:

  • Upgrading Mount Comfort Road as a boulevard with landscaped rights-of-way, roundabouts at major intersections, high-quality lighting, consistent signage, and a trail system that provides opportunities to walk and bike.
  • Making stunning “first impressions” at town and corridor gateways with landscaping, public art and high-quality signage.
  • Focusing economic development efforts to take advantage of the area’s rural heritage and convenient location, including ag-tech, agritourism, animal biomedical and advanced manufacturing.
  • Allowing each node to focus on the unique aspect of the location. For example, leveraging the I-70 interchange and Hancock Health’s facilities to attract higher quality business amenities, such as a hotel, conference center and sit-down restaurants.
  • Encouraging new residential, commercial and mixed-use development in the four nodes, including a mix of housing that will attract a broader range of residents and talent. Cluster development, cottages and bungalows, agrihoods, and other housing alternatives will be considered.

"The Mount Comfort Corridor is in an enviable position right now to proactively plan for the growth we know is coming," said Randall Sorrell, executive director of Hancock Economic Development Council, and a member of the Coalition for Smart Growth, a group of business leaders advocating for thoughtful growth in the Mount Comfort Corridor. "We know that people and businesses invest in locations based on the quality of place, so the vision of the Coalition is to thoughtfully plan areas that are attractive places to live, work and recreate."

The ULI advisory panel was commissioned in January to assess potential economic development opportunities in the area. 

The study's sponsors included the Hancock County Commissioners; the towns of McCordsville, Cumberland and New Palestine; NineStar Connect; Hancock Health; Greenfield Banking Co.; Hancock County Redevelopment Commission; Mt Vernon Community School Corp.; Hancock County Economic Development Corp.; Hancock County Community Foundation; Indy Partnership; BAGI Hancock County Builder's Council; Vectren; Duke Energy; and Aqua Indiana.