FORTVILLE – A downtown Fortville business owner is looking to remain on the town council as she nears the end of her first term.
Libby Wyatt is in a Republican race with Sean Simmons to serve on Fortville Town Council representing District 2 on the town’s north side.
Wyatt said she is motivated to stay on the council because she wants to keep being involved in the town.
“I feel like you can’t make change if you’re not involved,” she said. “And my main focus is keeping the Main Street district protected, because I think it gets forgotten with all the growth that’s happening.”
Wyatt owns Libby’s Ice Cream downtown and she and her husband, Jeff, own 305 Wine Garage down the street. She has helped organize events downtown like Art Battle and is spearheading an effort to bring decorative banners to the district. The Madison native first set up shop in downtown Fortville in 2016 and moved to town from McCordsville the following year.
“It’s the heart,” Wyatt said of Fortville’s downtown. “I feel like when I met Fortville there was something that just resonated – this is home. And I’ve heard it from a lot of customers and the people that have stayed here – so many generations of families that live in Fortville that have contributed to keeping it quaint, keeping it the way it’s been.”
During Wyatt’s first term, the town council and town officials initiated projects like a new water plant and remodeling the town hall. Some were contentious with the public and spurred divisions among council members, like approvals associated with an apartment complex planned for Main Street near Ridgeview Apartments, which Wyatt voted against.
“What I like about them is we can all speak our mind and we’re still neighbors,” she said of her colleagues. “We still have to see each other on the sidewalks. That made me really happy, made it more comfortable that it wasn’t contentious or anything. We all bring something unique – a different perspective – which I like.”
Wyatt said her objectives for a second term will depend on what proposals come up and what is important to those near it.
“If it doesn’t affect you in your backyard, it isn’t that important,” Wyatt said she has learned. She added that lesson has prompted her to weigh how far benefits would extend when considering a development, project or initiative.
While Fortville is growing, it isn’t to the point of ruining the town’s character, according to Wyatt.
“The heart isn’t going to change,” she said. “And that’s why people want to come, is because we’ve got this small-town feel. The things that I find bothersome, and I think other people do too, are the big trucks that are coming through.”
That is why she supports plans to extend Madison Street southward near the town’s industrial park.
“What I like about the South Madison district is redirecting that kind of traffic,” she said.
One development she does not want that has been turning up more and more in western Hancock County are warehouses.
“And we’re not made for that, but we have a bunch of industry,” she said. “Our industrial park isn’t huge, but there are more people like that that need that size of property. That South Madison district could do that, and it’s not an eyesore.”