Danville looking for economic jump start

Carol Mullins and her husband are retired.
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As part of our Decision 2012 coverage, WTHR is visiting cities and towns all over central Indiana to report on residents' concerns as we approach the election. (See the schedule here.) This week we visited Danville.

Eyewitness News reporter talked to Danville small business owner Fay Stinson about her experience in the community and what she'd like to see for the town and the country in the future.

"We've lived in Danville for about eight, nine years and we choose to live in Danville because it's a great community to raise our kids," Stinson said.

Stinson owns Fay's Finest Cheesecakes, a bakery.

"It's great to have it on the square. I was baking cheesecakes anyway, so I just said I'm going to open up my own business. But never in my dreams did I think I'd make it to the square. One day I'm trying to get my own factory. That's my goal. I want my cheesecake factory because I'm building a future for my daughter. The people are awesome here in Danville. They really do help out and serve and help the community and business owners. But we do need more jobs here, though," she said.

As far as Danville's challenges go, they're similar to what WTHR has seen around other central Indiana communities.

"It's pretty much the economy because it's kind of slow. I guess that's pretty much everywhere. But for Danville, it is a growing town, so that's what I do respect about Danville. It has grown a lot since I moved here. The hospital, for one, it has grown a lot. Even more homes and jobs, that would help out the community a whole lot," she said.

In November, Stinson says she hopes "to see the better man win. Whoever's going to serve this city and the community and help us grow, that's what I'm for. I do feel like we're on a better path now. But we need more jobs here because that would bring more people here, which would help the community to grow. So if they can do that, then we'd be a better community. It is a great place to live."

Meantime, in the heart of Hendricks County on Danville's town square is a place where the good old days are celebrated.

But the lunch crowd at the Mayberry Café, where "The Andy Griffith Show" repeats on television screens, is focused on the future - of the community and the country.

Many, like Ralph and Carol Mullins, are worried.

"A lot of hardships. Lot of difficulties," Ralph said.

"The economy is hurting everybody," Carol added. "It's hurting us really bad because we're recently retired. Insurance prices keep going up. Prices in general are going up. And we like to travel and we haven't been able to travel as much because of the fuel prices and it's affecting us. It just is."

The Mullins moved to Hendricks County to be close to their son.

Like other residents, they have noticed positives locally.

"It seems like things are going pretty good here in Indiana. We see building going on, which is a good sign," Carol said.

"I've seen a lot of growth in this county. It looks a lot different just since I've moved here," said Hendricks County resident Michelle Bopp.

In fact, right outside of the café in downtown Danville, a lot of businesses are thriving. Some new shops are opening as well. But community members say more still needs to be done.

"People are still, you know, worried about the economy and everything, looking for jobs," explained Hendricks County resident Shawn Payne. "To me it's about medium. It's not bad, but it hasn't been getting any better. It just hasn't gotten worse in awhile."

Hendricks County has traditionally been a Republican stronghold.

Customers at the café were plain-spoken about the change they want to see nationally.

"They need to quit spending so much money and getting us so far in debt," Carol Mullins said.

"We'd like to see the poverty in America improve, which that's done with jobs," her husband added.

"My concerns are one, how they're going to fix the economy. Two, how they're going to get government back out of people's lives, back off a little bit and then three, what kind of foreign policy are they going to give with the Middle East and gas prices," Payne said.

"I don't know what the answer is. I'm not a financier. But something's gotta be done," Carol said.

That frustration is felt in a place where times are more complex than what's shown on the television.

But Carol Mullins says the voters' message is simple.

"You just want to see the right people go in that really care and really want to do something to help us. And we need help!"