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Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide addressing the room of public guests.

The Jasper Chamber of Commerce welcomed the public to meet at Parlor Doughnuts, at the corner of Sixth and Newton Streets, to sit down, have some coffee and doughnut holes, courtesy of Parlor, and listen to Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide discuss city happenings earlier today.

Jasper Chamber Members, Local Business Representatives, and more were in attendance at Parlor Doughnuts in Jasper, listening with intent to Mayor Vonderheide.

Mayor Vonderheide addressed the room of over 20 people on the following topics:

  • All projects pursued by the City of Jasper are almost entirely made possible by public-private financing, ensuring that these projects have financial backing as early-on as possible.
  • The City of Jasper does not have a Grant Writer on-staff, so they rely heavily on Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission when needing those grant applications submitted on their behalf.
  • The recent increase in Dubois County Property Assessments, that which many property-owners saw major property tax increases, was not apart of the City of Jasper. Mayor Vonderheide specified that although Dubois County’s property tax increased overall, the City of Jasper has “stayed relatively flat”.
  • The City is noting the increase of out-of-state visitors and out-of-state residents who find themselves calling Jasper “home”.
  • The City of Jasper is hoping to heavily invest in roads, sidewalks, and trails in the coming years, while also prioritizing preventative infrastructure replacement. (Updating infrastructure before it has a chance to break and cause a problem).
  • The Jasper Utilities Department has seen many retirements over the past few years, resulting in many big changes and new employees.
  • Northside Jasper Development, and the push for more housing, the construction and management of the Northside Sewage Treatment Plant for Portersville and Haysville, and the construction of the Northside Electric Substation. The Mayor stated the recent completion of a gas utility loop that was installed on the Northside of Jasper for residents as well.
  • The project (in conjunction with Dubois County) of the connection of West 15th Street and Highway 56, which has been in development for years, is finally coming together. The hopeful timeline for the project would be two years.
  • The widening of Mill Street, from the confines of 30th Street to 36th Street, that will allow more semi-truck with trailer traffic to be diverted from US-231. With the use of multiple phases, the ultimate goal is to widen Mill Street completely going from 30th Street to 46th Street, allowing those larger vehicles access to US-231.
  • Mayor Vonderheide reminisced on the 67-year-run of the Jasper City Pool, until its demolition earlier this year. The concrete for the new Jasper Municipal Pool will be poured later this summer, and will be open by May 2025. Notably, the Jasper Municipal Pool was paid for completely in Tax Increment Financing (or TIF Funding).
  • Multiple improvements in City Parks are being or have been completed, as Mayor Vonderheide commended Tom Moorman, Jasper Parks Department Director, for many “much-needed” improvements all-around the City. The idea of adding artificial turf grass to the various City Sports Complexes was discussed, as it would open up the City to host more tournaments and bring more prospective consumers into the area, but nothing is “set-in-stone” at this point.
  • The Regional Wellness Center is currently projected to cost $43-$45 Million Dollars, an increase from the previous $37 Million price estimate. The Mayor is confident that through private donation funding, the project will have a strong financial backing of $15 Million by the time public funding and re-evaluating of the project is needed. The Food and Beverage Tax implemented by the City, starting in January of 2024, is one of the many ways the City of Jasper is able to fund this ongoing project.
  • The Mayor praised local tourism and noted the extensive amount of restaurants within Jasper city limits.
  • The completion of the Jasper Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council’s 2024 project of adding non-verbal communication boards to various City Parks.
  • The Mayor issued a reminder that Phase 2 of the Jasper Square Downtown Revitalization Project will resume this fall, rendering the North and South of Main Street, right-off the Square, as construction zone. This will allow the continued modern style of the Downtown Square to be extended, and allow the City to update infrastructure under the roads as needed.
  • The question of reviving the train-tracks connecting Jasper to French Lick was asked, to which the Mayor stated that although that project is of top concern for the City of Jasper, the City of French Lick is not of that same concern level. It would have to be of equal effort from both parties to see the project to completion, but would bring substantial potential to the Historic Downtown Jasper area.

The Jasper Chamber of Commerce hosts their “Coffee & Conversations with Mayor Dean Vonderheide” (in conjunction with the City of Jasper) every few months, the next meeting being held on Thursday, November 21st, 2024, at 8AM EST.

You can plan on attending upcoming City events by visiting the City of Jasper’s website.

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