The future of Kokomo’s oldest home, increasing downtown housing effect on traffic and parking, a downtown convention center announcement expected soon and Kokomo’s year in review.
On this week’s installment of Ask The Mayor, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below. A portion of this segment airs 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. Wednesday on WFIU.
Note the interview was recorded December 20th, 2017.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
Hren: You recently stumbled upon what may be the oldest house in Kokomo?
Goodnight: We did a north side trail extension this year. We had one home that was facing the new trail that we were going to have to work with the homeowner to make it a mixed use trail or if we wanted it for pedestrians we’d have to acquire it. So we acquired the property and once we started peeling off the siding, we realized the home had historic features.
After doing some research, we think it was built sometime around 1860. So we are going to stabilize it, secure it but don’t really have a plan. It was a nice surprise for us.
Hren: We haven’t talked about any new developments in a downtown convention center since July, any news to share with us before the end of the year?
Goodnight: We’ve been doing our due diligence in talking with developers and looking at some potential sites and narrowed it down to a specific location and we’re doing preliminary drawings on what that could look like. So we hope we have some finality to that real soon, within the next three to five weeks.
I wouldn’t say we’re 100 percent done, I’d say we’re to 97 percent sure, so we feel pretty good about.
Hren: Will you need to ask for an increase to any taxes to be able to fund the new convention center?
Goodnight: No, we have put together a proposal and plan that uses existing city, county tax dollars and the convention bureau has done a great job the last couple of years of building up a large cash reserve which will help make this feasible.
Hren: Will you still ask for the three percent increase in the innkeepers tax? I remember it was denied this past legislative session.
Goodnight: We just had a discussion yesterday, I think our state representative is going to resubmit the bill. So I think it’s going to be proposed, obviously we’re just going to have to watch the legislature.
Hren: What do Indiana cities and towns need to prioritize this coming year?
Goodnight: If you look at changes not just in Indiana, but across the country, people are moving to metropolitan areas. So as I look across the state and talk to other mayors, if you look at population changes in our 92 counties, you have about a dozen that are growing, you have another dozen growing at a slower rate and then a handful that are stagnant. That means two-thirds of our counties are losing population under relatively good economic times.
I think our state government should be looking at ways on how to address this.