Heritage is a feeling of identity and tradition that passes down from one generation to another. It’s something you can feel when you stroll down the streets of a downtown or a quaint neighborhood. You can admire it in older architecture, hear it in dialects and see it in the friendly faces you encounter in the community.
Where is Fishers’ Heritage?
Fishers’ heritage is found the amenities in our community that existed long before we moved here. For many of us, these amenities attracted us to Fishers and make a home here. Fishers’ heritage helped us be a part of the genuine spirit of our community. Each of us has a favorite Fishers “heritage thing.” Maybe it is a cozy small town vibe, green spaces with trees, railroad history, a community festival or a classic Hoosier sandwich.
But, what happens when the things we used to love disappear? The community starts to lose its sense of identity. This is happening here in Fishers.
A few years ago, the City talked about making Fishers a smart, vibrant and entrepreneurial community. I liked that vision at first. But now that this vision has come to life, I see that its execution has been incomplete and imbalanced. A smart community should invest its resources wisely, analyze results to make good decisions, and engage residents meaningfully.
An entrepreneurial community should include every type of Fishers business including small, home-based and e-commerce businesses. Being entrepreneurial is not solely defined by being new or expensive. Many local small businesses have been displaced to make room for new development. This is not entrepreneurial nor is it fair.
A vibrant community embraces its history and heritage. It honors long-standing favorites, no matter how big or small, and actively helps to keep them successful. We may have to adjust the traditions to fit the needs of our growing and changing population, but that’s OK. Instead of valuing and growing our traditions and heritage for community pride and enjoyment, we have lost many of them forever.
To me, this is unacceptable. Fishers is a remarkable city. We shouldn’t have to settle for a lopsided or incomplete community. Other cities are able to successfully integrate new development and big business with the existing community and small business. Surely, we can preserve our traditions while making new ones! That’s the balance I want to strike in our community.
Here are a two pieces of Fishers Heritage I hear people missing a lot lately:
Nickel Plate Grill
Nickel Plate Grill is closed and the building was sold to a developer. There’s a hope that the existing building will stay and a replacement restaurant will open there. Hopefully, its name will be “Nickel Plate Grill” it will serve tenderloins. But even though it may look the same, it will not be. If it comes to pass, it will be a replacement of the original piece of heritage and history that we’ve all grown to love.
Fishers Freedom Festival
The Fishers Freedom Festival was a decades-long patriotic tradition that’s no longer here. It’s been replaced with a new festival called Spark! Fishers. I serve on the Spark! Fishers committee and participate with the festival, but I can’t help but long for some of the Fishers Freedom Festival traditions to come back. I miss Frisbee dogs, the kids’ bike parade and the Holland Park setting to name a few. It’s no longer a homecoming for our children and an annual get-together for our long-time residents. Volunteering and attending Fishers Freedom Festival meant a lot to a lot of people.
Heritage Should be a Priority
Preserving and protecting our heritage to develop Fishers’ identity is one of my top priorities. I’m sure we can do it. It is a best practice and many communities around us in the state of Indiana are able to, so why can’t we? New development and long-standing traditions are each a good thing, but they need to be balanced together. One should not be sacrificed for the other.
New opportunities should not displace the things we love about Fishers, but enhance them. Let’s honor the heritage and history that’s come before us and welcome new amenities and businesses, too. This will create a unique city which we can all be proud to call home.