Boone County: A Thriving Community Magnet for New Businesses
December 2023/January 2024
A strong and attractive county often possesses a combination of economic, social, and environmental factors that contribute to its overall appeal. Boone County earned the prestigious title of “2023 NextEra Energy Resources Community of the Year” and was awarded that honor by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce on November 14, 2023. This accolade reflects the county’s remarkable growth, quality of life, and business-friendly environment.
The award ceremony, held in downtown Indianapolis, showcased Boone County’s achievements in economic development, workforce initiatives, and community engagement. This recognition is a testament to the county’s commitment to sustainable growth, attracting investment, enhancing its residents’ quality of life, and providing a business-friendly environment.
Quality of Life and Place
Boone County’s most recent notable achievements include securing nearly $800 million in business expansions over the past five years. Significant investments include Ken’s Foods, NewCold, REGO-FIX, GR Brands, FTIC, and Eli Lilly. Small businesses contribute to more than 80% of the county’s economy, and Boone County currently ranks highest in the state for employment growth at 10%.
Amenities contribute not only to residents’ comfort and enjoyment but also to the county’s economic development. By enhancing the overall attractiveness of an area, amenities can contribute to increased property values, business growth, and a positive community image. These factors lead to a more vibrant and sustainable county.
The six communities located throughout Boone County offer their own unique and impactful amenities that enhance quality of life and continue to attract new businesses to the county.
Molly Whitehead, executive director of the Boone EDC, said, “The Boone Economic Development Corporation (Boone EDC) nominated Boone County for this award. We wanted to acknowledge—and obviously, the Indiana Chamber [of Commerce] wanted to acknowledge—not only the county’s tremendous growth but also the communities that we are building. It’s not just about the economic development; it’s also about the quality of ‘place.’ It’s acknowledging the parks and the amenities that the county offers its residents. It’s about the quality of life that the county provides, no matter what lifestyle someone is looking for, and it’s about making sure that we’re telling that story because we’re doing some pretty amazing things here in Boone County.”
When asked about the county’s greatest strength that continues to attract new businesses, Whitehead said, “One of the biggest assets that we have going for us is having Interstate 65 and even I-74 going through Boone County. That I-65 connection from Indianapolis to Chicago brings 90,000 vehicles through our community every single day. One of the major reasons that companies choose to locate in Boone County is because of where we are geographically located. They want to be close to the major metropolitan areas, air transport and the access to workforce.”
Whitehead shared that even before the LEAP project was on anyone’s radar, Boone County was experiencing exponential growth. Based on the 2020 census, it is the second fastest-growing county in the state and 63rd in the nation.
“There is a lifestyle for anybody here in Boone County,” Whitehead emphasized. “That’s true from a residential standpoint as well as an industrial and commercial standpoint. Each [Boone County] community needs to adopt their best version of themselves and work together to be successful as a [county] community. Being the ‘Best Community’ is about us collectively working together and what we’re able to accomplish together. The Indiana Chamber Award was meant for Boone County. It wasn’t meant for Boone County Government; it was meant for all of us collectively. Lebanon, Whitestown, Thorntown, Advance, Jamestown and Zionsville—we are all part of Boone County. Let’s all celebrate this [accolade], as it is something to be proud of.”
The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Hanlon shared his thoughts on the designation on behalf of the local chamber.
“The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to share that Boone County has been designated as the Indiana Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. This honor is a testament to the collective efforts of our community, with special acknowledgment to the Zionsville Chamber and its devoted members who played a key role in achieving this esteemed recognition.”
Hanlon added, “The designation of Indiana Community of the Year highlights the resilience, innovation, and community spirit defining Zionsville. It underscores the remarkable accomplishments of Boone County, showcasing the commitment of the Zionsville Chamber and its members to cultivate an atmosphere of excellence, growth, and prosperity. With a longstanding commitment to championing economic development, supporting local businesses, and enhancing the overall quality of life for Zionsville residents, the Zionsville Chamber sees this statewide recognition as validation for our collective initiatives. It emphasizes the positive impact that our unified business community, in collaboration with the Boone County Economic Development Corporation, Boone County Chamber, and Boone County Convention and Visitors Bureau, can have on the broader region throughout Boone County.”
For more information on the Boone EDC’s initiatives, visit BetterInBoone.org.