Times Introduces New Columnist

My introduction to Greater Indianapolis were trips with my buddies to basketball, football and auto racing events.

We were all sports enthusiasts. Trips to Market Square Arena, Hoosier (RCA) Dome and IMS became our road trips of choice.

It always felt like Indy was hosting a major sporting event or attraction every weekend of the year. Interstate 74 was at our doorstep in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois so a trip here (170 approximate miles) was more often than not, hilarious and entertaining minus the hotel bill.

Yeah, Chicago was always on the to-do list but lost its appeal when $2 bleacher tickets to Sox and Cubs games became a thing of the past along with a rise in cocktail (i.e. beer) prices.

Really, there wasn’t much difference between a trip to Chicago or here but Indianapolis traffic had yet to reach its present day challenge as it can be. Finding a place to park wasn’t much of a task yet and post-game entertainment was within easy walking distance and still is.

As life transpires, those days melt into the past as we all took on more responsibilities with marriage and families.

Life has interesting twists and turns. My son decided to attend college here and I was reintroduced to the area. He transitioned easily and fell in love with not only Central Indiana but his soon-to- be wife. Visits here became frequent and leaving became more heart tugging for my wife and I.

Although we had two daughters, all our kids were married, our son in Noblesville, one daughter in Illinois and the youngest in Minnesota.

I retired in my early sixties and my wife did a few years later after a corporate reorganization. We looked at each other one day and knew we needed and wanted a change.

Illinois was quickly becoming a disaster in many ways. Ridiculous taxes (taxes are half here), increased crime, roads that hadn’t been fixed in years, businesses uprooting and relocating and vacant and boarded up storefronts.

This was not a major metro area but a municipality of just over 100,000. The future of hanging around looked bleak.

Minneapolis was never in contention. I won’t even begin to get into the reasons and we already knew about our neighbor across the Illinois River which was also a hard no.

Two years ago we put the wheels in motion and got very lucky knowing a relative who was already here and wanting to sell. We jumped at the opportunity.

I get the fact that born and bred Hoosiers may not like what is happening concerning many things. Indianapolis isn’t the safe city it used to be and the building boom and

street repairs and realignments in Noblesville, Fishers and Carmel are big changes from the small rural feel areas they probably were.

Take it from an Illinois migrant who recently escaped a real disaster that the trade off will likely be better in most cases.

The northern suburbs of Indianapolis are rated as being some of the most appealing places to live not only in Indiana but the country. That’s not meant to be a lecture but coming from someone who has lived the inverse.

By and large, Noblesville has the best of everything, a quaint downtown, plenty of businesses to serve citizens in its backyard, lovely parks and area schools and facilities that are not even a thought in Illinois to say nothing of Fishers, Carmel or Zionsville.

Neighborhoods are quiet and friendly and no one bothers you unless you want to be. Best of all, the real Midwest is still in play here. For the most part I have found the majority of the population to be salt of the Earth folks that are grounded and have not forgotten where they come from.

It used to be that way in Illinois but not anymore.

It will always be human nature to be dissatisfied about something. Not a problem with that and let those in charge know your thoughts but remember life here can be pretty good and in reality still is.

I thank Noblesville for accepting my family. You didn’t know who we were but so far you have treated us well.

Noblesville has become our forever home, a place we had never been before only two short years ago.

-Rick Nolan is retired and moved to Noblesville from Illinois. He has a background in the newspaper world and has worked in news, sports and business.

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