The mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, a Republican, visited Elkhart on Monday. His first stop was at a Rotary Club luncheon, followed by a golf outing and then a mayoral fundraiser in the evening.
Ballard was the main speaker at the Rotary Club event, and discussed his efforts to improve Indianapolis’ infrastructure in terms of roadways, sewer and water, bridges and bike paths. He even talked about bringing robotics to many high schools through a robotics competition.
A lot of what his administration has done has been “blocking and tackling—not the most exciting things.” While it may not be the most dramatic changes, Ballard says they’re the type of changes that will improve life for generations to come.
Being the mayor of Indianapolis is not too different than being the mayor of any other city, “We're struggling with that (the economy) a little bit, and it's growing like Elkhart County. It's growing and we want it to continue to grow but it's hard now because the businesses are telling me one thing and Washington’s telling me another so those two have to get together.”
When asked what brought him to Elkhart, Ballard said it wasn’t just presenting to the Rotary Club. Ballard also attended a campaign fundraiser for current state representative, Tim Neese of Indiana’s 48th District. Neese is entering his name into the 2015 mayoral race for Elkhart.
“It’s something that I’ve thought about over the last couple of years,” said Neese. He’s now at a point in his life where his kids are no longer at home and he and his wife have the time and energy to try a new endeavor.
A six term state representative and a former Elkhart councilman, Neese said he wants to contribute to the city of Elkhart in a different context now.
“I think, I and others are looking for common sense solutions for cities whatever that may be. I think a lot of people who go into public service want to do the right thing and I think he wants to do the right thing,” and as a fellow Republican, Ballard says Neese will do the “right” thing.
Neese said he can learn from the mayor of the biggest city in Indiana, adding that he’d be receptive to implementing some of the policies enacted in Indianapolis on a more local level in Elkhart.
“I'm not certain there's every a good time to be mayor,” Neese said. However, he feels he’s ready to take over and assume the new post if he’s elected.