Street commissioner running for mayor

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Rankins

GREENFIELD – Tyler Rankins has worked in several areas of city government, and currently leads several.

It has left him well versed, he said, for the next municipal post he has his sights on – the mayor’s office.

He is seeking the Republican nomination in the upcoming primary election against Greenfield City Councilman Kerry Grass and Greenfield Power & Light official Guy Titus. Nate Anderson, a Democrat, is running uncontested in the primary.

Rankins was born and raised in Greenfield, graduated from Greenfield-Central High School in 2000 and has a daughter who is a sophomore there. He has been a city employee for 21 years, 12 of which in utilities – nine at wastewater and three at power and light. He then went to the street department, where 10 months later he became street commissioner, a post he has had for eight and a half years.

“I know a lot of the day-to-day operations,” Rankins said.

Throughout his time as street commissioner, he has worked directly with Mayor Chuck Fewell, who is not seeking re-election.

“I see where he’s taken the city and I feel like I’ve got the qualities and the experience and the vision for Greenfield to take over,” Rankins said.

His experience as a department head has taught him much about municipal budgets, he said. He has three that he is responsible for as street commissioner – the street department’s, Park Cemetery’s and the garage that maintains city vehicles.

Rankins said he is well acquainted with established city projects like the Riley Literary Trail, new wastewater treatment plant and new water tower planned off Franklin Street’s west side between Tague Street and Davis Road.

“I know a lot of that stuff but I also have my own ideas,” he said. “I want to continue to revitalize downtown even more. I think that Depot Street Park is just the beginning of the downtown. We need Greenfield downtown to be a destination – more restaurants, some residential, some more entertainment for kids.”

He remembers 10 to 15 years ago when downtown was less vibrant. His mother and grandmother owned Victorian Rose Catering where Lincoln Square Pancake House is currently located.

“I remember going down there on Tuesdays when they would have Kiwanis, or Fridays when they had weddings or whatever, and they would be the only thing open downtown,” he said. “So to see where it is now and to see where it could be has me excited.”

Rankins said infrastructure is a priority for him, particularly with the growth the city is experiencing east of Ind. 9.

“We basically have two streets – McKenzie and New Road – that will take travelers from 9 to the east side of the city,” he said. “…We’ve got that coming down the line. We’ve got to learn that we need to be able to get people to that side of town without backing up on State Road 9.”

Much of the city’s growth has been residential, he noted.

“I love Greenfield,” he said. “That’s one of the main reasons I’m running for office, is because I love Greenfield. My whole adult life I’ve worked for the city of Greenfield, for the residents of Greenfield. I love to see the residential growth. We’re growing like crazy. We don’t want to grow too fast – we don’t want to outgrow our infrastructure – but I love Greenfield; other people should be able to come here and love Greenfield too.”

He referred to concerns over build-to-rent single-family housing developments in the area. Last year, city officials rejected a proposal for one. Rankins noted one such community is across Tague Street from the Street Department.

“Those are beautiful homes,” he said. “I think we need to stop thinking of renters as the enemy, and just start thinking about them as residents. I’m kind of in the middle. I understand the pride of home-ownership, but I also understand that people have lives outside the home now and they might not want to put all that maintenance into a home, they might want to rent.”

Property management companies, not just renters, need to be held accountable, he said.

Rankins is thinking about commercial growth as well, particularly in the undeveloped northeast quadrant of Ind. 9 and I-70.

“I don’t feel like I’m that old, but I can remember when basically Greenfield ended at Muskegon (Drive),” he said. “Walmart was there just south of it, and that’s basically where the town ended. Now that we’re all the way down to 70, we’re going to have to expand a little bit over here, and I can really see that quadrant coming up in the next couple years.”

Across I-70 from that area is primed for development too, he said.

“We’ve got a good spot out there on Opportunity Parkway for some places to come, and down New Road,” he said.

He added he knows there has been public backlash – particularly in the western part of the county – toward large warehouses and logistics buildings, but noted they draw more taxes.

“They bring assessed value, and they really help out the police and fire,” he said.

2023 Municipal Primary Election (May 2)

Early vote centers

Beginning April 4

Hancock County Courthouse, Magistrate’s Court – north entrance

9 E. Main St., Greenfield (moves to courthouse annex — 111 American Legion Place, Greenfield — on Election Day)

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays April 4-28

8 a.m. to noon Monday, May 1

Beginning April 17

Hancock County Public Library – Greenfield Branch

900 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield

2-7 p.m. weekdays April 17-28

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, April 22 and 29

Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation Administration Building

1806 W. Ind. 234, Fortville

(not an Election Day location)

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays April 17-28

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, April 22 and 29

Buck Creek Township Fire Department

5809 W. Airport Blvd., Greenfield

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays April 17-28

2023 Municipal Primary Election Day vote centers

6 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 2

Hancock County Courthouse Annex, 111 American Legion Place, Greenfield

Buck Creek Township Fire Department, 5809 W. Airport Blvd., Greenfield

Cumberland Town Hall, 11501 E. Washington St., Cumberland

Fortville Community Center, 400 W. Church St., Fortville

Hancock County Public Library – Greenfield Branch, 900 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield

McCordsville Town Hall, 6280 W. 800N, McCordsville