McCORDSVILLE – After Chad Gooding lost his election bid last year to remain as an at-large member of McCordsville Town Council, he caught the board’s first meeting of 2023 streaming online.
“I miss this,” he said he found himself feeling. “We had such good people, and I love the town. (Town manager) Tim Gropp, all those guys are such good people. If I can help at all, I’m willing and able and want to.”
Now, Gooding is back on the ballot for McCordsville Town Council’s District 1 in the central part of town. The Republican faces Pete Murphy in the upcoming primary election.
A Hancock County Republican Party caucus selected Gooding to serve on the town council for 2022 to fill out the rest of a term left by Barry Wood, who stepped down early. Later that year, Gooding ran to keep one of the two at-large seats on the council, but narrowly lost in the primary to Bryan Burney and Scott Jones, who both went on to win in the general election as well.
Gooding – an Anderson native and vice president of construction for a mechanical, electrical and plumbing company – said he learned much throughout his first year on the council.
“It takes you a few months to get your legs underneath you, figure out what’s really happening,” he said. “I thought we had a good thing going.”
He currently serves on the town’s plan commission and formerly served on its architectural review committee.
McCordsville is fostering the development of McCord Square, a planned town center filled with residential, commercial, civic and outdoor spaces between Mt. Comfort Road, Broadway and CR 750N.
“Seeing McCord Square take off and all the planning around that – that was years and years of work done ahead of me – but just being part of that, trying to give the town an identity, which it deserves,” Gooding said. “It’s got such a valuable core of people that grew up there, and such an influx of new people.”
During Gooding’s time on the council, he supported Indianapolis-based Strategic Capital Partners’ plans at the northwest corner of Mt. Comfort Road and CR 500N for one speculative building spanning over 1 million square feet and two nearly 600,000 square feet. He also supported Indianapolis-based GDI Companies’ pursuit of an annexation at the northeast corner of CR 700W and 500N for four speculative logistics buildings, although the developer later called off the plans. Both proposals drew opposition from town residents.
“I think you have this idea of what development means, and watching the pushback on the warehouses I think was eye-opening and completely understandable,” Gooding said. “…It holds us to a high standard for town council – a high standard to bring the best projects to the town with the best tax revenue, and it holds you to a standard that you have to listen to and adhere to – and it’s harder, but that’s OK. I’ve always found that the best stuff’s always harder.”
He said he does not regret his support of those projects.
“You’ve got to lead in those situations and understand the lesser of two evils,” he said. “It’s a tough decision, but that’s why you’re there – to try to make those tough decisions. It’s a lot tougher when you don’t have any money to pay for infrastructure and meet the demands of the community.”
Gooding also praised the way the town works to resolve issues spurred by industrial development. He pointed to Aurora Way – a road off Mt. Comfort Road between CR 500N and CR 600N that Cincinnati-based Al. Neyer helped start in exchange for having its nearby warehouse annexed into town and getting a nontraditional tax break. McCordsville officials strove for the road to keep truck traffic off of CR 600N and away from the Woodhaven neighborhood, and see it as a driver for further economic development in the area.
“I think being associated with people who can come up with ideas like that is good, because that was really hard, and that was very creative,” he said. “Not a lot of communities would’ve come up with that, I don’t think, and have the ability to get it done.”