Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Philip Fowler was one of the first residents of Homestead, a residential community in Monrovia, when he moved to the town in 2006. The development of Homestead kickstarted significant growth in the town’s population, growth which is not forecasted to slow due to projected new housing developments and warehouse development in the nearby area.
Fowler’s goal as town council president is to ensure there is a solid development plan that will lead to a better community for all residents. The council passed a comprehensive plan in 2021 and has been working its way down a list of outlined initiatives.
“People say there’s too much change coming,” Fowler said. “Well, change is going to come no matter what you do. You can let it wash over you or you can drive it. That’s what we try to do. We try to drive the change so that it’s in the best interest of everyone.”
GROWTH IS COMING
When Fowler first moved to Monrovia, the town consisted of six hundred people. According to the most recent census in 2020, there are now 1,648 residents. Fowler estimates it’s now closer to 1,900. From 2022 to 2027, 742 additional homes are scheduled to be constructed in the town, more than doubling Monrovia’s population.
In addition to housing developments that will bring people to the town, just across Monrovia town lines, large warehouses are developing north of the county line in Hendricks County and to the west of Monrovia in Morgan County. Another will be built to the east on Keller Hill Road.
Monrovia’s comprehensive plan stipulates where industrial, commercial, agricultural, and residential areas are permitted. The town also passed a unified development ordinance that governs land use and development throughout the town. Should anyone wish to make changes, it must go in front of the board of zoning appeals for a variance.
Fowler retired in 1995 after 21 years in the Marine Corps. He is the father of seven, and married his wife, Kay, last year. He now works for Elevance Health, writing code. When he first moved to Homestead, the first thing he noticed was that there weren’t any parks, or any places which helped to connect this new community to its longtime residents. He also noticed that Homestead only had one entrance and worried that in the case of an emergency, residents may not be able to evacuate. He began attending town council meetings to address his concerns and in 2018, he was selected for the planning commission. He ran for town council in 2010 but lost by four votes. He was later selected for a town council seat after his previous opponent moved out of the town. He has won the council seat unopposed since. In 2021, he was named president of the council.
“One thing I push for is everything I’m doing is to make the quality of life for the people of Monrovia better,” he said. “Ten years, 20 years from now, no one will care who was council president. They will care if things got done, if the people here make it a better place to live.
Recent improvements to the town include the development of a website, monrovia.in.gov. The website includes a plethora of information including meeting agendas, minutes, budgets, town events, and more. They also created an app, Monrovia Connect, with the same information plus contacts for all elected town officials and employees. The more residents are informed, the more input the council gets and the more everyone in the community can guide the town’s growth, Fowler said. Transparency is key so in addition to making all of this information accessible for everyone, the town council will soon begin to live stream its meetings.
The police department went from two part-time officers to a full-time marshal with six officers working with him – two part-time and four reserve officers.Read the Full July 2023 Edition Here