Sheridan ’14 Has New Appreciation for Crawfordsville

Jacob Sheridan ’14 – This summer I have had the great opportunity to intern with Wabash Alumnus and Mayor of Crawfordsville Todd Barton. The past six weeks here at the Crawfordsville City Building have been both a learning experience and a lot of fun. I have been able to work with nearly every city department and taken on a variety of different projects. Two of the main projects that I have worked on this summer have been the city’s website and the city’s Geographic Information System, WTH Think GIS mapping software.

Sheridan chatting over city business with Mayor Todd Barton ’00.

While working on the website, I updated many different department pages like photos for the Fire Department or minutes for the Board of Works, but I also created two completely new pages. The first was the Volunteer Work Information page, which is supposed to increase the communication between local organizations in need of volunteer work and those volunteers in the community looking for work to be done. The second was the new webpage for the Crawfordsville Municipal Golf Course. The city has been working to improve the services of the golf course and to make its operation more sustainable. The new website should help spread awareness and information about the course to the community and surrounding areas. Although I am no expert, I have played several different golf courses, and the Crawfordsville Municipal Golf Course is a great course at an even better price.

A majority of my summer has been spent working with the Brandy Allen and Megan Huckstep of the Planning and Community Development Department where I have done a lot of work to update the Think GIS mapping software. My first assignment was to update the city limits and zoning layers of the map by going through the legal descriptions of city ordinances as far back as 2003. At first glance, the legal descriptions looked like a foreign language, but with the help of Mike Davis and Jennifer Starnes at the Montgomery County Mapping Department, I was able to pick up the legal descriptions and the mapping software quite quickly.

Next, I worked on a project to create a completely new map layer that would show all of the permits that the Planning Department had issued within the past few years, and link all of the necessary information to it. This was challenging at first, forcing me to spend a lot of time talking to the WTH support team, but it was the type of challenge that I was looking forward to and that provided lots of learning experiences.

Finally, Street Commissioner Scott Hesler asked me to help him create a new layer of all the alleys in Crawfordsville. You can find an alley on the mapping software by finding any place where the parcel lines do not meet up and that is not a road. According to the current parcel map, there are around 26 miles of alleys in the city limits of Crawfordsville, which is above the normal amount. However, my work was just the first step in the process, as a street crew will now take my map to verify if an alley is physically there. Different procedures will have to be taken for alleys that exist on the map, but not on land, and for those that exist on land, but are not shown on the map.

I am excited to continue working with and learning from all of the people here in the Crawfordsville city government. In closing, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and the generous donations of Wabash Alumni that have supported this great learning experience.

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