Bargersville establishes riverfront district

With no liquor licenses left, the Bargersville Town Council last week created a riverfront district at the future Interstate 69 interchange on the town’s northwest side, opening the door to more restaurants and bars that want to serve alcohol in the fast-growing town.

All nine of the town’s liquor licenses, based on its 2010 population, are already in use. The move gives Bargersville 10 additional liquor licenses. 

The district follows the path of Bluff Creek and Salem Brook, two creeks that flow into the White River. State law allows riverfront districts to be established within 1,500 feet of any moving body of water. Nearby Greenwood has also established a riverfront district along Pleasant Creek, Pleasant Run Creek and Jolly Brook, bodies of water that cover much of the town, including downtown and Greenwood Park Mall, for the same reason. 

Bargersville’s district will cover three corners at the future interchange, including an area surrounding the former Knuckle Sandwich restaurant where businesses are being razed for I-69; the site of The Grove at White River, a 166-acre commercial development to be built by Duke Homes; and an undeveloped property across County Road 144. From the interchange, the district extends south to Whiteland Road and includes the land surrounding Mallow Run Winery.

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As part of the move, the council also created the Bargersville Riverfront District Review Committee, which will review alcohol permit applications according to local rules the town will establish.

Based on the local criteria, the committee will review permits and decide which applications should be forwarded to the state Alcohol and Tobacco Commission for consideration. The state will have final say on which applications are approved. The committee’s purpose is to steer the direction of the town’s growth, said Julie Young, town manager.

The committee will be made up of three people: two town council appointees and the town’s development director. Applications are available now, Young said. 

Town officials hope to have the committee in place and local rules established by the end of the year, she said.

The town is not what it was during the last Census count 10 years ago, which determined how many licenses a city or town could have based on its official population. 

The town of about 8,000 people grew by an estimated 29% between 2010 and 2018, and has grown more since. As the town continues to grow, so does interest in opening new restaurants and bars, particularly at the site of the future interchange, Young said.

The town’s lack of permits presents a barrier to growth multiple times a year, she said. 

“When they find that out, they’re no longer interested in locating in the town,” she said. “It has happened enough that we decided this project was worth the time and interest.”

The town will likely gain even more permits based on this year’s Census count, Young said. The number of additional permits that may be issued based on the 2020 Census will be decided by state lawmakers during the upcoming legislative session.

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How to apply for a seat on Bargersville town boards

The town of Bargersville is looking for residents interested in serving on all town boards in 2021, including the new Riverfront District Review Committee, Plan Commission, Metropolitan Board of Police Commission, Parks Advisory Commission and others.

Those interested should fill out an application found on the town’s website, and submit letter of interest, and resume. Applications can be emailed to [email protected] or delivered to the town hall during business hours.

The deadline to submit applications is 4 p.m. Friday.