What is the 180 Alliance?
Named for the six counties that form a half-circle, or 180-degrees, around the north, west, and south sides of Indianapolis, the 180 Alliance is a group of community leaders who have come together to apply for a grant and lead the charge in the growth, expansion, and future of our region.
Through a grant provided by the Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative (READI), the 180 Alliance region has the opportunity to diversify and grow through downtown revitalizations, workforce development, natural resource enhancement, and other programs.
The Story of Our Growth
Our 11.5% growth rate is three times greater than the state’s 3.8%, and continues to accelerate.
From 2010-2020, Montgomery, Boone, Putnam, Hendricks, Morgan, and Johnson counties contributed a combined 22% of Indiana’s total growth – and that percentage continues to increase. During that time, our region added 56,000 people, enough to create the state’s 16th largest city. While more than half of Indiana’s counties lost population, three of our top four growth counties are a part of our alliance:
- Boone County: 25%
- Hendricks County: 20%
- Johnson County: 15.8%
While it’s true that our neighbor Hamilton County saw slightly faster growth, it’s equally clear development is rolling in our direction counter-clockwise around Indianapolis. Hamilton County – at 26% – is immediately east of Boone County, with 25%. The third fastest growing – Hendricks – is immediately south of Boone.
Our 11.5% growth rate is three times greater than the state’s 3.8% and is accelerating. For example, region member Morgan County’s population increase of 2.3% is modest only by comparison, but it’s certain to quicken as construction crews finish work on I-69, making this rural community an even easier commute from downtown Indianapolis. The same can be said for already fast-growing Johnson County.
Whitestown is a striking example of growth and a future look at many of our communities. This Boone County town has been the state’s fastest-growing locale for years – catapulting 255% from 2,867 people in 2010 to 10,178 people in 2020. It’s booming because it has easy interstate access, is close to Marion County jobs and
has reasonable taxes; features it shares with the rest of our region.
These demographic patterns show that any investment in our region is also a direct investment in the future of the Indiana’s workforce and population centers. And that future is arriving here daily in moving vans. Leaders from all six of our counties are keenly aware of these eye-popping numbers. Fortunately, by working together as a region, there’s time to make the most of our development potential while protecting its quality-of-life assets.
Here’s a glimpse of the homeowners, business owners, and leaders who call the 180 region home.
The people who’ve chosen to make one of these six counties home are involved and invested in the growth, expansion, and future of the region. When given the choice to live and work anywhere, these residents chose the 180 Alliance region because of its opportunities, affordability, growth, and sense of community.
Learn more about a few of the residents who’ve chosen to live, work, and build their businesses across the region.
Putnam County Business Owner
DePauw University graduate Jacob Widner decided not to return to Chicago after school, instead staying in Greencastle. “As a young professional I have the opportunity to hold leadership roles here that I wouldn’t have in larger cities,” said Widner, who at age 25 is also a Greencastle city council member. “I also like the cost of living and the ability to travel an hour to get to anything I want.”
Morgan County Business Owner
“We’re growing and we’re looking for more space,” said Clay Hamilton of White’s Electrical in Mooresville. “We’re growing at a 38% rate right now and interviewing for new people every week. I-69 is going to be a huge advantage for us. I’m looking to grow here, because the redevelopment commission and the others want you here, and they have a lot to offer. This place is booming now.”
Montgomery County Resident
“We moved here in 2020 because we like the scenery and the atmosphere, and we could get a nice house big enough for my mother-in-law to join us,” said Carolyn Dorsey of Crawfordsville. “But then, much to our delight, we realized how much effort they were making to revitalize downtown – Pike Place, the farmers market, food trucks, First Friday concerts – we’ve been to every one of those this year. We love being a part of this.”
Johnson County Business Owner
“When we decided to go out on our own in 2019, it made sense to move here because it’s one of the fastest growing communities in Indiana,” said Blythe Potter, co-owner of Bargersville Salon, Spa, and Wellness. “My rent is a third of what it would be in Fishers, and here we’re the only spa, only barbershop, and only yoga studio – and all our clients were already living here. We are desperately trying to expand.”
Boone County Resident
“I’ve lived in larger cities but the sense of community was missing,” said Claire Collett, economic development manager for the Boone County Economic Development Corporation. “I work with small business owners, and I really wanted to live in the community I advocate for and shop in the places that they own. Also, my mom just moved here and bought a house to join me. We love being part of this.”
Morgan County Residents
“We love it – we decided this is where we wanted to be,” said Lindsey Smith, who moved to Martinsville from the East Coast when her husband Kyler took a local job. “The people we have met here, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. Plus, they are revitalizing the town and I’m getting involved as much as I can, including Rediscover Martinsville, the Arts Council and I joined a sorority. This is where we’re going to stay.”
Montgomery County Business Owner
“I own my own business here and my husband also owns his business, which is right next door. It’s great,” said Amy Williamson, of Blue Marketing in Crawfordsville. “I lived and worked in Indy and elsewhere but when it was time to do my own thing I moved back here. The cost of living is good and the community has really grown – there’s a lot more to do. People here are so invested in their own company helps me help them.”
Lucas and Dana Dull
Boone County Business Owners
Lucas Dull is the third generation to work Dull’s Tree Farm in Thorntown. “My wife and I came back to join the operation to help on the agri-tourism side. It’s the entrepreneurial part that excites me,” said Dull, previously an engineer at Eli Lilly. They now offer a pumpkin harvest, Haymow Event Barn, Stone Cabin Inn B&B, and The Escape Trail. “We’ve developed a lot of community support and it’s great to become part of local traditions.”
Johnson County Resident
“I went to Franklin College and I made up my mind back then that I want to settle here,” said Dr. David Dunkel, president and CEO of Johnson Memorial Health. “It’s wonderful to see these areas building up, and the amazing work in downtown Franklin. You can see improvement to the roads, dining and entertainment, but what draws people here is the people themselves. You can see skillsets becoming more diverse. Skilled people are choosing to live here.”
Putnam County Business Owner
Vince Aguirre is a Chicago native and DePauw University graduate who stayed in the community to open his own marketing agency, Distinct. “I wouldn’t have survived a year in a larger market. But because the community believed in me and supported me, I could grow here,” said Aguirre. “There may be more opportunity in larger markets, but it’s not as good opportunity. Here, my clients are my friends.”
Hendricks County Business Owner
“At a time when talented physicians and healthcare professionals could go anywhere to start or enrich their careers, Hendricks Regional Health has seen significant recruiting success,” said Kevin Speer, president & chief executive officer for Hendricks Regional Health. “Much of this can be attributed to Hendricks County and the region being the kind of thriving community people not only want to work in, but live and raise families in.”
The Steering Committee for the 180 Alliance project is comprised of leaders from all six counties.
Executive Committee Members: Molly Whitehead, Jeff Wolfe, Tom Santelli, Elise Nieshalla, Mayor Matt Gentry (Lebanon), and Nathan Messer.
Executive Committee Members: Tom Klein, Mayor Todd Barton (Crawfordsvile), John Frey, Cheryl Morphew, Brandy Allen.
Executive Committe Members: Kristin Clary, Mayor Bill Dory (Greencastle), Rick Woodall, Dave Fuhrman, and Travis Linneweber.
Executive Committee Members: Josh Messmer, Mike Dellinger, Kenny Hale, Mayor Kenny Costin (Martinsville), Michael Conner, Kevin Collier, Dustin Stanley, Tom Warthen, Kim Merideth, and Kelly Alcala.
Executive Committee Members: Amanda Rubadue, Susie Qualls, Stephanie Amos, Dana Monson, Terry Miller, and John Sturm.
Executive Committee Members: Brian Bilger, John Taylor, Debbie Cook, Todd Cook, Brandy Wethington Perrill, Jamie Bohler Smith, Dennis Dawes, and Robin Brandgard.