This article is part two in a three part series on the future of unincorporated White River Township. In Part One, we defined what constitutes an unincorporated island. In Part Three we look at Why They Matter to you, your taxes and your community.
How do unincorporated islands form? Quick answer: selective annexations. As explained previously a selective annexation happens when a city or town chooses to annex the more desirable commercial areas and only the residential homes necessary to get to them. How could this happen in WRT? On the map below I have taken the liberty to map out a few potential scenarios.
As State Road 37 starts its transformation to become I-69 our neighbors will see the value in the property along the highway. If you doubt this, take a look at Bargersville’s annexation of southwest WRT. This was done not out of the kindness of their hearts but because they recognize the value of “owning” a main intersection along an interstate highway. The annexation was a shrewd business move, nothing else.
WRT is slated to have 3 interchanges along the new I-69: County Line road, Smith Valley road, and IN-144. Bargersville already has control of the IN-144 intersection.
Greenwood has sewers in WRT as far south as Smith Valley road. If Greenwood could secure the areas outlined in green above it would give them access to the other two I-69 interchanges in WRT. In addition to being highly valued commercial areas these interchanges would provide a direct link to the city of Greenwood, its mall and businesses. While we would like to think they would annex all of the area to get there, it will be far less costly and less complex for them to annex only what is necessary to get those interchanges.
Bargersville on the other hand could very easily annex about an additional mile up SR-37. Because this area is lightly populated, few signatures would be required. This would provide them with several additional acres of valuable commercial property. Bargersville could also annex along Stones crossing in order to capture “ownership” for the land where they already provide water and sewer service.
While these strategic moves make logical sense from each of their perspectives, it is what they leave behind, or choose not to annex that we need to be concerned about. This is how unincorporated islands form. Most of the residents of unincorporated WRT would remain “on an island.”
Next up: Why that matters.