Comprehensive Plan

Hagerstown, IN



Much of the housing in Hagerstown consists of single-family homes rich in character. As such, future housing goals center on property maintenance as well as diversifying the types of available housing to accommodate a changing population.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Encourage affordable housing for all
    • Promote higher net densities of six to seven units per acre to increase the amount of affordable housing options. The ordinances are in place that allow for these higher densities while simultaneously avoiding the appearance of crowding through design.
    • Facilitate cost-effective site development and construction methods through incentive programs and marketing to developers.
    • Encourage the implementation of energy-saving features in existing and new housing.
  • Encourage the development of retirement age residences for differing care levels
    • Housing intended for the this age group, including assisted living care, should be centrally located with easy access to goods and services. Progressive care facilities are often designed as small communities, and can include doctor’s offices, pharmacies, administrative offices, hospice care, apartments or town houses, and single-family residential units. Hagerstown can be marketed to developers as an ideal location for these types of facilities, and town ordinances allow for this type of multiple use development.
  • Focus housing development and redevelopment efforts in accordance with the land use plan
    • The Land Use Planning and Growth Management sections of the comprehensive plan encourage appropriate and efficient land development in Hagerstown. When residential development plans are approved, they should comply with those recommendations.
    • Encourage developers to renovate or build housing in zoning districts where permitted and as recommended in the Land Use Planning and Growth Management sections.
  • Increase citizen awareness of home maintenance programs and grants
    • Make residents aware of the town’s 50/50 sidewalk maintenance program.
    • Develop a strategic plan for maintaining sidewalks, accessibility ramps, and curbs throughout Hagerstown’s neighborhoods. This can include the creation of a maintenance schedule. Improvements can be funded by a combination of municipal funds, such as EDIT revenues, and property owner usage fees.
  • Investigate state programs for housing development and redevelopment, and research federal housing programs
    • Housing development and redevelopment programs exist at both the state and federal government levels. These programs are designed to assist communities in providing affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents or for specific segments of the population, such as the elderly. Program requirements and deadlines change frequently, so one member of town government should be responsible for researching, monitoring, and making recommendations about these programs to the Town Council.

Community Involvement

Community involvement is an essential component of Hagerstown’s quality of life. Goals regarding this topic seek to encourage the ongoing volunteerism of Hagerstown residents and to provide opportunities for youth involvement.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Publicize the activity of all youth centered groups
    • Members of organizations such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, church youth groups, and school clubs make excellent volunteers. Groups and individuals who may need volunteer help ought to be aware of how to contact these local service organizations. The cooperation of the schools, the local newspaper, and other local media outlets will provide ways to publicize these groups’ goals, meetings, and recruitment information.
  • Encourage coordination among the volunteer efforts of local groups
    • By pooling resources and coordinating the efforts of multiple organizations, large, community-wide projects may be undertaken in a more efficient manner. Town staff can act as the coordinating body connecting volunteers with service projects.
  • Develop an incentive program for volunteers
    • A multi-faceted incentive program for volunteers would uniquely target several types of residents. The program could provide rewards, such as discounts for goods or services, for the completion of community service hours. Employers could also provide opportunities and encouragement for employees to participate in community service. The program for youth should be structured in a way so that hours eligible for the incentive program do not count toward required service hours for other organizations, such as the National Honor Society.
    • Volunteerism should be recognized through newspaper articles highlighting excellence in community service and “volunteer of the year” awards.
  • Provide youth volunteering opportunities in service organizations
    • Part-time and seasonal youth volunteering opportunities are needed in Hagerstown. This type of work teaches valuable skills, responsibility, and promotes interaction with adults of the community. A local service organization could help coordinate the creation of jobs for local youth.

Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Resources

Hagerstown provides its residents with excellent access to parks and recreation facilities. Goals regarding parks, recreation, and other cultural resources such as the museum and library seek to make these facilities accessible to a larger number of residents, to increase the use of present park-goers, and to provide even more opportunities for cultural activities in and around Hagerstown.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Create opportunities for pedestrians to move safely between parks
    • Creating a linear park system in which residents could safely walk from park to park would increase park usage. Existing and proposed open spaces, schools, public buildings, and other points of interest need to be mapped in order to determine a pedestrian passage system between these areas. Acquisition of land and/or easements may be necessary in some areas to complete a linear park system, while existing paths, sidewalks, and open public spaces would compose most of the pedestrian pathway. Such a pathway should be well-lit during park hours and have adequate signage at intersections.
  • Create parks that provide new types of recreational opportunity
    • Parks and recreation areas can fulfill a number of needs. Some parks are for active recreation such as group sports, individual sports, and playground activities, while others are designed for passive recreation such as walking or jogging. Still other parks are designed to preserve natural areas and wildlife habitat or to prevent development in flood-prone areas. As Hagerstown creates new open spaces and recreation areas, emphasis should be given to developing the new parks for uses that are underserved in the existing parks.
  • Continue to identify and evaluate park system needs

    • It is of great importance that the Park Board, Parks Superintendent and Town Manager together continually evaluate needs and respond to them in an appropriate manner to maintain the parks and still meet the community needs.
    • Budget constraints will present a challenge to adding new assets to the Park System; therefore, creative ways of funding improvements will need to be utilized.
  • Organize recreational activities for people of all ages and abilities

    • Recreation activities in the parks need to be organized for people of all ages and ability levels. Youth activities are well-coordinated by the school district; as such, youth activities outside of the school are generally only needed during the summer months. Activities should be scheduled throughout the year for adults as well.
  • Develop an Adopt-a-Park program
    • Various groups within the community could display their community pride and commitment to improving Hagerstown through an Adopt-a-Park program. The program would divide the town’s parks, open spaces, and recreation areas into manageable sections, and adopting groups would then be responsible for each section’s cleanup and maintenance.
  • Develop a community center with activities for a variety of age groups
    • Hagerstown residents take pride in the town’s excellent senior citizen center while recognizing a need for indoor recreation for other age groups. This need could be fulfilled by acquiring or building a structure for this purpose. Staffing could be provided by volunteers or town employees. Funding could come from donations, sponsorships, grants, or leveraged with the Dr. Miller endowment.
  • Develop cultural recreation opportunities
    • Active outdoor recreation is provided by Hagerstown’s parks, but cultural recreation should also be encouraged. Music performances could be coordinated in the downtown park across from Town Hall; this would draw visitors and residents to local restaurants and establishments. The Hagerstown Museum, Arts Place, library, and other cultural resources can also be encouraged to provide entertainment and cultural activities for the town.

Elder/Child Care

Hagerstown has a growing need for elder care and child care services. While some child care services are available in Hagerstown, more licensed facilities are needed. Our older citizens also require more services, such as home visits by trained professionals and increased housing options. (For more on elder housing goals, see the Housing subsection.)

Goals and Action Plans

  • Revise ordinances to allow home-based businesses, subject to standards
    • Childcare is frequently provided by individuals in their own homes. Local ordinances should be reviewed to ensure that they do not prohibit this activity, and that they provide proper requirements for daycares to meet state standards.
  • Organize a sick child care program
    • A sick child care program could be a cooperative effort between local businesses, who stand to benefit through increased productivity of parent/workers, and volunteers, who can help provide sick child care.
  • Organize a home healthcare program
    • Home healthcare programs are frequently available, but costs can at times be prohibitive. The services currently available in and around Hagerstown should be reviewed, and nearby providers informed of the community’s needs. Incentives and/or subsidies could be provided to those willing to donate services and ensure Hagerstown’s residents receive the appropriate care.
  • Encourage development of a progressive care living community
    • In keeping with the goals outlined in the Housing subsection, Hagerstown should encourage the development of a multi-stage assisted living facility for elders with a range of care needs. The Town should ensure it is properly located.
  • Develop an adopt-a-grandparent program
    • Young people and the elderly can benefit from one another’s company and experiences through an adopt-a-grandparent program. In programs of this type, youths and elders are matched based on common experiences or interests. The pair then spends time reading and visiting together. Such a program could be coordinated through a local service organization.


The Nettle Creek School Corporation, consisting of Hagerstown Elementary and Hagerstown Jr./Sr. High School, services Hagerstown and the surrounding area. Hagerstown’s schools are an integral part of the community, and their continued success is vital to the town’s growth. By working together, town government officials and school board members can ensure that the Nettle Creek Schools continue to produce high-achieving, successful, motivated students.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Develop a method to build a profile from empirical data as well as individual feedback gathered from former students to determine what has been educationally effective, what has not and how it has enhanced or hindered their success.

  • Work with the school board, superintendent and faculty to fulfill the Nettle Creek School Corporation’s visions and goals.

  • Encourage the development of a mentor program in both the elementary and junior/senior high school.


Historic architecture, new buildings, sidewalks, streets, lighting, and landscaping are all a part of the Hagerstown’s character. Maintaining the appearance of downtown and residential neighborhoods will contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of the town, projecting a positive image of the high quality of life in Hagerstown.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Maintain and occupy our historic buildings
    • The Hagerstown I.O.O.F. building in listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Encourage new development to be consistent with existing architecture and design
    • Historically, small town design was intended to produce recognizable districts, paths and landmarks. The absence of these recognizable elements creates confusion about how the town “fits together” and lacks identity and uniqueness. New buildings should avoid abrupt changes in height, bulk or character.
  • Develop brochure detailing Hagerstown character elements
  • Extend streetscape elements throughout town and to the State Road 1 corridor
    • The streetscape elements that define Hagerstown should be extended to cover both sides of Main Street. Increasing the community’s frontage by extending these elements will also enhance town character and make the community more inviting to residents and visitors.
  • Draw residents and tourists into the downtown
    • By encouraging mixed-use development, including housing in the downtown area, more residents and visitors will be drawn to Main Street. Providing convenient and well-marked parking areas and establishing pedestrian linkages between the downtown, schools, and parks will also increase the flow of people through downtown.
  • Provide incentive to businesses that contribute to community character and involve people of all ages in improving Hagerstown character
    • Many projects which would improve community character could be done by volunteer groups and local organizations. Volunteers of all ages, especially children and teens, should be encouraged to participate in activities such as the construction and maintenance of community gateways.


Infrastructure is an important component of economic development for all sectors of business and employment. It should be developed to attract medium to large employers to the region while also supporting the needs of small businesses such as retail and solo practitioners.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Water Infrastructure & Equipment Improvement Plan
    • Develop program to start replacing sections of waterlines in Town
    • Follow replacement schedules for new equipment purchases
    • Install new water lines along SR 1 to I-70
    • Install new water lines along SR 38 to the Henry County line
    • Install new water lines to the airport

  • Electric Infrastructure & Equipment Improvement Plan

    • Maintain Tree trimming schedule
    • Develop program to start replacing/upgrading sections of electric wiring annually
    • Upgrade meter reading software
    • Purchase new bucket truck and digger derrick truck
    • Follow replacement schedules for new equipment purchases
  • Street Infrastructure & Equipment Improvement Plan

    • Replace curbs/sidewalks with ADA compliant ramps at 2 intersections annually ★Main Street intersections completed
    • Continue with annual paving program
    • Replace 8 alley intersections annually
    • Build sidewalk to park ★Grant Received
    • Continue sidewalk replacement program
    • Tear out and replace North Washington Street
    • Extend Swoveland Road to the Airport
    • Follow replacement schedules for new equipment purchases

  • Wastewater Infrastructure & Equipment Improvement Plan
    • Develop program to start replacing sections of sewer annually
    • Continue with televising project of sewers
    • Follow replacement schedules for new equipment purchases
    • Install new sewer lines along SR 1 to I-70
    • Install new sewer lines along SR 38 to the Henry County line
    • Install new sewer lines to the airport

Environmental Sustainability

Sustainability refers to the managing of environmental, economic, and social development in ways that balance resources and needs, nature and humanity. Environmental sustainability satisfies basic human needs (clean air and water) and conserves the natural, cultural, and historical environment while providing for managed growth and development, also known as Smart Growth.

Smart Growth adds homes and jobs to a community while protecting and preserving environmental resources. Principles of Smart Growth include:

  • Allowing for mixed land use within the community
  • Making use of compact building design as opposed to large, sprawling development patterns
  • Creating walkable neighborhoods
  • Preserving open space and natural beauty in our community
  • Encouraging construction and development in existing communities
  • Ensuring that Smart Growth is cost effective and within reach of developers

Goals and Action Plans

  • Enhance community character through the preservation of cultural, historical, and natural resources
    • Revitalizing historic neighborhoods through the preservation and conservation of historic buildings will ensure that Hagerstown maintains its charm and character.
    • Maintaining and creating parks provides open spaces for community and individual activities.
  • Promote a healthy environment for Hagerstown residents
    • Protecting local flora and fauna, maintaining clean water sources, and conserving soil quality provides a healthier environment for all.
    • Creating environmentally sustainable building policies encourages development which has a minimal impact on the environment.
    • Decreasing our community's net greenhouse gas emissions will ensure a clean environment for future generations.
  • Encourage the re-use of land and buildings
    • Encouraging the development of existing buildings for new industrial, commercial, or residential uses will prevent urban sprawl and revitalize existing neighborhoods.

Land Use Planning

Land use in Hagerstown is primarily residential. With the exception of one subdivision, all of the housing is in neighborhood blocks located on either side of Main Street (State Road 38). Most commercially-zoned land is located along Main Street. There also exists a large amount of land zoned for industrial use in and around Hagerstown. Land use planning is important in determining the best uses for land available in Hagerstown, and the impacts of certain uses on that land.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Allow for some farm-based businesses
    • Agricultural zones should also allow for some farm-related businesses. Farm-related businesses are those involved in the transportation, processing, packaging, and distribution of agricultural products.
  • Work with Wayne County EDC to develop additional commercial or industrial parks _

Growth Management

As Hagerstown continues to grow and encourage the development of business in and around the community, it is important to manage this growth in such a way that Hagerstown maintains its small town character and quality of life. Growth management prevents development that is disconnected from the rest of the community, which would put an additional burden on infrastructure and on area farmers.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Adopt a local right-to-farm ordinance and update the zoning ordinance to establish agriculture as a legitimate land use
    • Right-to-farm acts ensure that farmers are protected against nuisance lawsuits when non-agricultural uses extend into agricultural areas. This has been known to occur in Indiana when people from urban areas move into new developments on the rural fringe and subsequently sue farmers for the “nuisance” of agricultural noises and odors. Right-to-farm acts limit farmers’ liability in these instances.
  • Extend water and sewer service to those areas in which growth is desirable
    • Growth generally occurs in areas where utility connections are available. This development pattern is commonly called sprawl, and is costly to the community financially as well as in terms of environmental quality and town character. Developing a service boundary sets a limit on the amount of growth and growth density.

Industrial Development

Industrial development considers opportunities for fully utilizing industrial buildings and Hagerstown’s industrial park. It also considers alternative forms of industry, such as cottage industries and local value-added industries. The major goals of industrial development in Hagerstown include attracting technology-based small business, encouraging farm-based business and agricultural industries, creating a market for local value-added industries, and maintaining environmental sustainability.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Provide adequate infrastructure services to support technology-based business
    • Technology-based business would help to diversify the Hagerstown economy and encourage a large number of smaller businesses. In order to encourage technology-based business to locate in Hagerstown, or to encourage technology-based entrepreneurship, appropriate infrastructure must be provided. This infrastructure includes the availability of high bandwidth fiber internet services.
  • Focus recruitment efforts on agricultural value-added industries
    • Adding value to local agricultural products through processing, packaging, or transportation can benefit Hagerstown’s industrial climate. Creating a local value-added agricultural program in Hagerstown could be possible through the Indiana Value-Added Grant Program, which is designed to increase the value of Indiana-produced agricultural commodities. Grants are available for agricultural value-added activities, including research and development of new programs or processes.
  • Recruit industries and small businesses that add value to locally-produced goods and services
    • The purpose of local value-added industry is to increase the multiplier effect, or the number of times a dollar circulates through the community. Hagerstown can recruit businesses or encourage entrepreneurs who would add value to the goods and services currently being produced in Hagerstown.

Workforce Development

Workforce development initiatives are concerned with creating a better match between the needs of employers and the skills of the local workforce. The major goal of workforce development in Hagerstown is to maintain a competitive workforce with skills that will both meet current employer demands and attract new industries to Hagerstown.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Develop a local internship program with local businesses
  • Ensure the availability of state-of-the-art technology in technical school programs
    • Technical school programs prepare students with the needed skills to enter a technical field following high school (or technical school) graduation. In order to meet this goal, the technical schools should have equipment (including computers, CAD software, and machinery) that is comparable to the equipment used in industry. School-business partnerships may be able to help the schools obtain such equipment.
  • Make certain all job seekers have adequate communication skills
    • Job seekers include all unemployed persons in the workforce, people looking to enter the workforce, and people seeking career or job changes. Oral and written communication skills are highly valued by employers, from interpersonal communication to technical writing. High school and continuing adult education courses can provide the knowledge necessary for high-level verbal, written, and electronic communication.
  • Actively participate in the Certified Work Ready Communities program
    • The Certified Work Ready Communities program is administered by WorkOne.


Hagerstown has a growing tourism base due to attractions such as Willie and Red’s, Abbott’s Candy, and other niche food and retail establishments. Further tourism development will benefit the town and existing businesses.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Remain engaged with the Wayne County Tourism Bureau to promote packages including all local attractions
    • Coordinating the tourism activities in the town and county into a comprehensive package can enhance tourism for Hagerstown and Richmond. In-town destinations such as Willie and Red’s, Abbott’s, the Nettle Creek Museum and Arts Place, and other restaurants and retail businesses could be jointly marketed to promote visits to Hagerstown. The county could also be promoted as a weekend tourism destination by packaging and promoting transportation, lodging, dining, and recreation/shopping as one unit.
  • Develop an alternative foods market
    • An alternative foods market such as growing organic fruits and vegetables and processing them into homemade products could serve as a farm- and home-based local value-added industry for Hagerstown. The farms, the processing and the markets could become tourist destinations/attractions in and of themselves. The products can be sold at the town’s farmers market, at Jubilee Days, at a festival market downtown, and local merchants year-round. These locally-produced foods could also be marketed to regional restaurants and independent groceries for wholesale supply.
  • Develop Hagerstown as a regional center for fitness and recreation
    • The Cardinal Greenway passes near Hagerstown, and this bike trail could be used to promote Hagerstown as a place for bicyclists, walkers, and other athletes to stay and visit while traveling along the Greenway. Seasonal activities can be coordinated and promoted to create recreation opportunities for people of all ages and ability levels. This program could also be linked to the development of active older-resident housing and to other tourism programs.
  • Create regional specialty shows with Hagerstown as a focus
    • Local and regional vendors could increase the number of customers visiting their stores by coordinating hours and marketing. By coordinating marketing, one or more shows could be promoted throughout the year. These shows would not necessarily be located under one roof, or in one community. The concept is to create a progressive show in which visitors travel between the stores, but are aware of the number of retailers in the area and the hours during which they are open for business. Special activities such as antique restoration demonstrations or music performances could be coordinated to enhance the show experience and draw a larger number of customers into the region.
  • Develop a tourism board
    • The activities related to tourism development require time, research, and coordination between a number of agencies, organizations, and merchants. Efforts need to be coordinated by a volunteer tourism board and a tourism coordinator employed by the town. Developing a volunteer tourism board is a short-term priority. A tourism coordinator could begin as a part-time position, increasing to full-time as necessary.
  • Manage tourist circulation and parking
    • Wherever possible, parking lots that are not used during evenings and weekends should be opened for tourist parking. Maintaining sidewalks and introducing pedestrian signage can also encourage tourists to walk from available parking to their destinations downtown.

Retail and Service Development

Development of the retail and service sector was identified by residents as a critical need. The creation of more local events will promote additional retail opportunities in the area.

Goals and Action Plans

  • Develop merchant association
    • Create a co-op of marketing dollars to the benefit of local merchants.
  • Provide job and business training for retail occupations and industries
    • Job training and entrepreneurship training in retail and service skills will encourage growth in these sectors. Hospitality training can also promote retail and service sector growth and develop Hagerstown’s existing niche in those areas. Management training for second shifts and training youths as clerks and cashiers would provide opportunities for downtown businesses to maintain longer and more consistent hours.
  • Market Hagerstown to prospective businesses and advertise the town’s labor force and business market
    • Hagerstown has many location and character assets which can be marketed to retail and service businesses. A marketing campaign could bring additional retail and service sector business to Hagerstown, increasing the non-residential tax base.
  • Encourage entrepreneurship in needed business areas
    • Many of the locally-needed businesses could begin as entrepreneurial enterprises with the help of the Wayne County Economic Development agency. Bed and breakfasts could fill the need for overnight guest accommodations and encourage tourism. Child care facilities can be established as home-based businesses, provided the home meets state requirements for child care facility licensing. Business support services themselves, such as printing shops, accounting firms, and law firms, can also be home-based, per 151.102 Code of Ordinances.
  • Increase pedestrian traffic on Main Street
    • Providing parking near downtown with safe, well-lighted sidewalks could encourage pedestrian traffic through downtown. Increased signage, with a consistent design, would increase the visibility of existing parking areas and pedestrian walkways.
  • Use vacant downtown buildings as retail and service incubators
    • Vacant downtown buildings could be used for small business incubation, especially for retail and service enterprises. The buildings could be owned and operated by the Town, the Wayne County Economic Development organization, or a not-for-profit organization.
    • Incubator space with shared resources for entrepreneurs in business support services such as printing, accounting, or law could increase the chances of small business survival.
  • Create Hagerstown gift packages, and other Hagerstown souvenirs, based on local goods and services
    • A “Hagerstown, Indiana” gift package should be created to promote the many goods produced locally, including candies, Willie and Red’s gift certificates, cookbooks, TEDCO toys, and Hagerstown apparel printed by the Logo Shoppe. These items would encourage distant visitors to spend money on locally-produced items and market Hagerstown to those who see or receive the gift packages.


Indiana statute, Title 36, Article 7, as amended, empowers towns and cities to plan. This mandate encourages towns “to improve the health, safety, convenience, and welfare of their citizens and to plan for the future development of their communities” (IC 36-7-4-201). In exercising planning and zoning, towns should:

  • Carefully plan highway systems
  • Grow only with adequate public way, utility, health, educational, and recreational facilities
  • Recognize the needs of agriculture, forestry, industry, and business in future growth
  • Provide residential areas with healthful surroundings for family life
  • Ensure that the growth of the community is commensurate with and promotive of the efficient and economical use of public funds

IC 36-7-4-201 also provides for the establishment of “single and unified planning and zoning entities.”

Town planning commissions are charged with preparing a comprehensive plan (IC 36-7-4-501). Comprehensive plans must include:

  • A statement of objectives for the future development of the jurisdiction
  • A statement of policy for the land use development of the jurisdiction
  • A statement of policy for the development of public ways, public places, public lands, public structures, and public utilities

This plan thus intends to fulfill Indiana state statutes regarding town planning as well as provide the town of Hagerstown with a useful tool for the future.


Area & Context

Hagerstown is situated in Jefferson Township in western Wayne County. Located approximately thirteen miles west of Richmond and ten miles east of New Castle, the community sits near the intersection of State Road 38 and State Road 1. Hagerstown is approximately five miles north of Interstate 70, and the town has rail access via the Norfolk and Southern railroad. The Hagerstown Airport also services the community and can accommodate small aircraft.

The Cardinal Greenway section of the American Discovery Trail, a rails-to-trails program intended to eventually stretch from Maryland to the Pacific Ocean, passes through Wayne County a few miles north of Hagerstown.

Both the Whitewater River and the Nettle Creek run through the community, with the Nettle Creek feeding Scout Lake just south of town. In the nineteenth century Hagerstown was the northern terminus of the Whitewater Canal, a major canal system which spanned seventy-six miles and was completed in 1847. Today, many elements of Hagerstown life have taken on the name of Nettle Creek, including the Nettle Creek School Corporation and the Nettle Creek Gazette.

Early History

The Treaty of Greenville between the federal government and the Native Americans of the Western Confederacy was signed in 1795, and this treaty first opened the eastern part of present-day Wayne County to settlers. In 1809, the Twelve Mile Purchase pushed the edge of U.S. territory twelve miles farther west, drawing the boundary east of where Hagerstown lies today. Treaty Line Road, just south of Hagerstown, still runs along this 1809 treaty line. Though settlers began to move into the area by 1814, the land in and around present-day Hagerstown was not officially open for sale until after 1822.

The Town of Hagerstown was laid out by Jacob Ulrich and Jonas Harris on March 8, 1832. The Town was named Hagerstown in honor of Hagerstown, Maryland, from where many settlers had migrated. Hagerstown was surveyed and platted November 15, 1832, and Jefferson Township was formed in 1834. Hagerstown was incorporated as a town on September 3, 1853. Early churches included the Salem Baptist Church, established in 1816, the Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren, organized in 1825, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, which started in 1840.

The town continued to grow throughout the nineteenth century. The first school in the area was organized northeast of present-day Hagerstown in 1828. By 1832 a number of businesses and mills had been established, and a new post office was built at Nettle Creek in 1833. The Hagerstown Canal Company was organized in 1846, with Jacob Ulrich as president.

The town’s earliest newspaper, the Western Budget, was established in 1852. A second paper, the Hagerstown Journal, began publication in 1865, but did not survive. Finally, the Hagerstown Exponent was established in 1875 by Alonzo Milton Dawson. The Exponent remained the source of local news for the Hagerstown area into the twenty- first century. Today, the community is served by the Nettle Creek Gazette.

In 1860 the Hagerstown Academy was built as a permanent site for community education, and in 1863 a circulating library was formed in the basement of Watkin William’s Tailor Shop.

The Hagerstown Telephone Company was established in 1899. Electricity was provided to the town in 1908, and a municipal water system was adopted in 1909.

Growth and Development in the Twentieth Century

The town expanded quickly in the early twentieth century, and with new business opportunities came a need for greater educational resources. In 1921 the Hagerstown and Jefferson Township schools consolidated. Several more townships would consolidate and form the Nettle Creek School Corporation in 1962, resulting in the building of a new elementary and high school in 1968 and 1971, respectively. In 1929 the Teetor family gifted the new Jefferson Township Public Library to the town. Two new wings were added to the building in 1958 and 1990, and the library continues to serve as a central hub of town life today. The Hagerstown Museum and Arts Place, located in a historic building on Main Street, also furthers community education through its preservation of local history and offerings of fine arts classes.

Businesses such as Perfect Circle, Abbott’s Candy, and Welliver’s Smorgasbord havealso left a lasting impression on the Hagerstown community. The history of Perfect Circle begins with the Teetor family in 1895, when, after developing a lightweight four- wheeled pedal railroad car, Charles Teetor transformed his family bicycle repair shop into the Railway Cycle Manufacturing Company. The company began manufacturing self-propelled inspection cars, and in 1900 was renamed the Light Inspection Car Company. Taking advantage of the Midwest’s movement toward automobile manufacturing, the company began producing car engines and engine parts. In 1907 Teetor’s business began casting piston rings individually, resulting in a superior quality product which quickly became popular. The company’s name changed once again, this time to the Teetor-Hartley Motor Company; it also adopted the trade name of Perfect Circle. The Dana Corporation bought Perfect Circle in 1963, and the plant closed in 1995. Ralph Teetor, Charles’ nephew, founded TEDCO (Teetor Engineering Development Company), which today manufactures gyroscopes and educational toys in Hagerstown. Ralph Teetor also invented the Speedostat, or cruise control, for use on automobiles.

The automobile has continued to leave its mark on Hagerstown business and industry, as both Autocar and Precision Wire call the town home. Autocar, the nation’s oldest vehicle nameplate and a leading manufacturer of LCF Class 8 refuse trucks, opened its headquarters in Hagerstown in 2003. Precision Wire Assemblies, Inc., assembles wire harnesses at its plant in Hagerstown.

Abbott’s Candy is another important business in Hagerstown’s history. In 1897, William Clay Abbott sold his Hagerstown restaurant to become a traveling salesman for the candy makers Dilling & Company. After some time, he returned to Hagerstown and began to make and sell his own candy, turning the garage behind his home into a candy factory. Abbott’s candies, particularly his caramels and butterscotch, became locally famous. After William’s death in 1942, his son, J. Bruce Abbott, and widow, Florence Abbott, continued the candy-making tradition.

Bruce first introduced mechanization to the process, but his death in 1949 left Florence and Bruce’s widow, Rhea, to take over the candy business. Rhea introduced further mechanization to the factory, and in 1956 the women opened The Two Sisters gift shop on Main Street. Rhea’s daughter, Suanna Abbott Goodnight, took over the business after her mother’s death in 1988. Jay and Lynn Noel acquired the factory in 2012.

Finally, Hagerstown is perhaps most well-known in the area for its local smorgasbord restaurant. After returning from World War II, Guy “Willie” Welliver sought to open a haberdashery on Main Street. After purchasing a location on Main Street—which was, at the time, set up as a restaurant—Welliver attended a “thrasher’s dinner” at his mother-in-law’s home. The following week he decided to offer a similar smorgasbord meal in his newly-acquired business. The restaurant was a success, and pan-fried chicken, shrimp, and cinnamon bread became a few of its signature items. Welliver’s Famous Smorgasbord remained family-owned until 2010, when it was purchased by local business owners Mike and Penny Wickes, who renovated and reopened the restaurant as Willie and Red's. After surviving a fire and the subsequent repairs and further renovations, the restaurant today continues to draw patrons with its extensive smorgasbord and menu options.

Town Government

Hagerstown government consists of the Town Council, the Town Manager, the Clerk-Treasurer, the Plan Commission, and the Board of Zoning Appeals. The town also has a police department which operates under a town marshal system, as well as a volunteer fire department.

Town Council

  • Legislative and executive body for the town
  • Composed of five members
  • Four-year terms for members
  • Staggered elections prevent an all-new council from taking office in any given year

Town Manager

  • Administrative head of town management
  • Holds limited executive powers
  • Hired by the Town Council
  • Oversees daily functions of the town


  • Fiscal officer of the town
  • Elected, four-year term
  • Duties include record maintenance, collecting and dispersing monies, maintaining financial records, recording town council proceedings, issuing licenses

Plan Commission

  • Planning and zoning advisory board of the town
  • Composed of nine members
    • Three members are from town government
    • Four members are appointed citizens from inside town limits
      • No more than two citizen members may be from the same political party
      • Citizen members appointed to four-year terms
    • Two members are appointed from the two mile fringe around the town
      • Must be from differing political parties
      • Appointed to four-year terms

Board of Zoning Appeals

  • Hears requests for appeal or variance from zoning regulations
  • Also makes planning-related decisions
  • Five-member board
    • Three members appointed by Town Council President, one of whom must be Plan Commission member
    • One citizen member appointed by Town Council
    • One member appointed by Plan Commission
    • The member appointed by Plan Commission plus one other member must be residents of the unincorporated area under jurisdiction of Hagerstown zoning law

Hagerstown Police Department

  • Operates under town marshal system, as defined by Indiana law
  • Marshal is appointed by Town Council and reports to Town Council President

Land Use and Zoning Code

An inventory of current land uses in Hagerstown is useful in making future land use decisions and changes to development ordinances. Land uses are typically divided into several categories: residential, commercial and business, industrial, community, farmland, and undeveloped land.


  • Currently occupies the most land area in Hagerstown
  • Majority of housing is single-family detached units, developed into neighborhood blocks
  • Limited number of higher-density residences are available


  • Downtown Hagerstown and State Road 38 are primarily devoted to government and commercial uses
  • Commercial uses are focused in the downtown area, along with some segments east of town near State Road 1


  • Occupies most land area following residential uses
  • Three industrial parks are located in Hagerstown


  • Public land use includes the schools, library, municipal buildings, cemetery, water treatment plant, post office, parks
  • Other community lands include those held by utility companies, churches, and local clubs and organizations


  • Much of the land in Jefferson Township is considered prime farmland and used for agriculture


The official population of Hagerstown according to the 2010 Census is 1787 persons. This one percent increase reverses the slight declining trend that Hagerstown has been experiencing during the past thirty years.

The age figures for a particular area are a good measure of the current population structure of that area and how that area may grow into the future. Over fifty-five percent of the population is between the ages of 18 and 64, which indicates that Hagerstown has a strong working age population. An additional twenty-six percent of the town’s population is under 18 and will be of prime working age within the next two decades. This shows that Hagerstown has a strong workforce both currently and for the near future. The median age in the town was 37.9 years.

Housing & Households

As of the 2010 census, Hagerstown has 751 households, of which 62% are families, and 31.4% are families with children under 18 years of age. The average household size in Hagerstown includes 2.38 persons, and the average family size includes 3.02 persons. Of the 751 occupied housing units in Hagerstown, 72.7% are owner-occupied, and 27.3% are occupied by renters.

The majority of Hagerstown residents are native born Hoosiers. Based on data for the entire 47346 zip code:

  1. Over 66% of the residents lived in the same house five years ago and over 90% lived in the same house one year ago.
  2. The estimated household income for 2011 was $49,529.
  3. The estimated median house value for 2011 was $120,500.

The March, 2012 cost of living index for Hagerstown was rated at 87.0, so we were less than the U.S. Average of 100.0.


According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over 80 percent of Hagerstown residents age 25 and older have at least a high school diploma and over 20 percent of the residents have a college degree. These educational attainment figures show that Hagerstown has a well-educated population which helps make the residents highly employable in higher quality jobs.

The Nettle Creek School Corporation, which serves the residents of Hagerstown, ranks above state average in many areas, according to data provided by the Indiana Department of Education. Nettle Creek had a higher attendance rate (97 percent) and a higher graduation rate (90.2 percent) than Indiana averages (96.1, 88.3 respectively) during the 2011-2012 school year. The school corporation also consistently ranks higher on standardized test scores than the state averages. All of the figures begin to give an indication of the high quality of schools available in Hagerstown. The Indiana Department of Education sets a standard level of achievement for the Indiana Standardized Test of Educational Progress (ISTEP) for each grade level that participates in the testing. The 2011-2012 ISTEP results showed that Nettle Creek students placed above these Indiana academic standards overall. Typically over three-quarters of the students scored above or well above the standards. Nettle Creek students generally scored about 5% higher than the average Indiana student.

The most current enrollment figures released by the Indiana Department of Education show that the Nettle Creek School Corporation had 1,172 students during the 2011-2012 academic year. The total enrollment has decreased slightly during the 2000’s . With the slight population increase shown in the last census, the school enrollment could tend to level out over the next few years.

Industry & Employment

The unemployment rate of Wayne County has followed historical trends nationwide but has generally remained higher than the average Indiana unemployment rate. Indiana averages have been affected by economic recessions to a lesser degree than Wayne County, which can be explained by the high percentage of workers employed in retail trade and manufacturing; these sectors are generally responsive to larger economic conditions and therefore would experience a greater setback from an economic recession. This may show a need to diversify the employment base in Wayne County and in Hagerstown to avoid high unemployment during future economic recessions.

The following graphs show the Most Common Industries where Hagerstown workers were employed during the past four years. It can be seen that over 50% of employed men who live in Hagerstown worked in manufacturing, construction, or retail services.

The following graph shows that 50% of the employed women who live in Hagerstown worked in either Health Care or Educational Services.

Workers in Hagerstown have shorter commutes than the average worker in the State of Indiana. The following chart shows commute times from 2008. The commute for over fifty percent of the workers is less than 15 minutes.

Community Input

Community input is a vital component of the Comprehensive Plan, as it provides valuable insight into the strengths, goals, wants and needs of the Hagerstown community.

The Hagerstown Plan Commission has collected community input through both surveys and public meetings. The results of this input provide direction for future goals and action plans.

Survey Responses

Surveys were distributed to Hagerstown residents via email, social media, postal mail, and various town locations such as the IGA grocery store, Nettle Creek Hardware store, and the Hagerstown-Jefferson Township Library.

Survey Questions

  • Resident’s gender
  • Resident’s age
  • Resident’s employment status
  • Resident’s relationship status
  • Whether resident’s household includes children under 18
  • Whether resident rents or owns home
  • Location of resident’s home
  • Length of time resident lived/worked in Hagerstown
  • Why resident returned to/left/lives in Hagerstown
  • Why resident intends to leave/stay in Hagerstown
  • One positive aspect of Hagerstown
  • One negative liability of Hagerstown

Results of the survey were compiled and assessed by members of the Plan Commission.

Public Meeting

On June 12, 2013 a public workshop and open discussion was hosted by the Plan Commission. Residents were encouraged to give voice to their ideas, concerns, and aspirations regarding the future of Hagerstown. The meeting was held in The Meeting Place on Main Street and was moderated by Susie Ripley, who is an East Central Community Liaison from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Attendees were asked to respond to various questions during the meeting and to vote on their top five answers for each question.
Results of this meeting are summarized below.

What qualities does Hagerstown currently have? (Top Responses)

  • Library
  • Strong church community
  • Great schools
  • Strong fire, EMS, ambulance, and police departments
  • Great parks
  • Great restaurants

What opportunities does Hagerstown have for improvement? (Top Responses)

  • Career jobs and tech jobs
  • New infrastructure (water, sewer, electric, storm sewer)
  • Great sidewalks
  • Retirement community
  • Large YMCA
  • Small liberal arts college
  • Bike paths


Most importantly, we would like to thank the people of Hagerstown for their support and involvement in their community.

We would also like to thank the Hagerstown Plan Commission for their time and dedication to this task, for their insights in creating a positive vision for the future of Hagerstown, and for facilitating this great undertaking.

Plan Commission Team

  • Brian Longbons, President
  • Shaun Lieberman, Vice President
  • Chris Lamar, Member & Town Manager
  • Becky Diercks, Member
  • Suzanne Huntsman, Member
  • Thera Logston, Member
  • Brandon Sanders Member

  • Bob Warner, Member & Town Manager (Ex)
  • Brian Clark, Member (Ex)
  • Clarence Plankenhorn, Member (Ex)
  • Nate Logston, Vice President (Ex)
  • Pete Schaffner, Member (Ex)

Plan Evaluation and Revision

Planning is never finished. As our community changes and develops, so too must the Comprehensive Plan. In order to ease the revision process, the Hagerstown Comprehensive Plan has been designed and developed as a living document which resides on the Internet. This format allows for frequent editing by the Hagerstown Plan Commission.

It is recommended that the Hagerstown Plan Commission review the contents of the Comprehensive Plan every six months. Upon review, members may add relevant new goals and action plans. They may also strike completed goals. Completed goals should be marked as such, and may be left on the website for up to two years. This will allow the Plan Commission, as well as members of the community, to review past successes and Hagerstown's current trajectory.

Demographics Data Sources

The data used in the Demographics sections comes from the following sources:

  1. Indiana Department of Education website
  3. for Hagerstown
  4. for zip code 47346
  5. for Hagerstown

Zoning Maps

Completed Objectives

This list reflects the achievements of the Hagerstown which contribute to the goals of the Hagerstown Comprehensive plan.


  • 2022 Replaced sidewalks on Main Street from Washington Street to Perry Street ($200,000 investment)
  • 2022 Main Street streetscape – replaced aging benches on Main Street, had 20 year old trash cans sandblasted and powder coated to match benches/ lighting
  • 2022 Installed wayfinding signage on Main Street
  • 2022 INDOT repaving Main Street and reworked our ADA ramps
  • 2022 Enclosed/ spray insulated large pole barn at WWTP + installed heater for storage of Jet-Vac Truck and dewatering of solids dumpster during winter
  • 2022 Purchased/ Installed new Advanced Metering Infrastructure – AMI ($319,200 investment)


  • 2021 Purchased mini excavator for use by all departments ($58,000 investment)
  • 2021 Purchased new pickup truck for electric department ($37,108 investment)
  • 2021 Installed 3 new high efficiency gas furnaces at Town Hall ($32,951 investment)
  • 2021 Completed $226,798.20 in street milling/ repaving ($170,098.65 was awarded from INDOT 75/25 Community Crossings grant)
  • 2021 Purchased new fire truck ($560,000 investment, $261,786.05 from Jefferson Twp.)
  • 2021 Water main extension along Teetor Road
  • 2021 Purchased new planters for Main Street
  • 2021 Replaced five storm drainage structures under Main Street and repaired existing drains


  • 2020 Purchased new Jet Vac Truck for WWTP and Water departments ($400,000 investment)
  • 2020 Applied for and was awarded $200,000 OCRA Covid Business grant awarding 29 Hagestown businesses grants ranging from $5000 to $10,000
  • 2020 Remodeled kitchen/ break room at Town Hall
  • 2020 Purchased new Leaf Vac Truck for Streets Department ($201,859.07 investment)
  • 2020 Purchased new SCADATA control panel equipment for WWTP ($54,500 investment)
  • 2020 Completed $709,966.87 in street milling/ repaving, ADA sidewalk ramps ($532,475.15 was awarded from INDOT 75/25 Community Crossings Grant)
  • 2020 Purchased and demolished blighted Tri County/ Melodian Apartment Building at 51 South Perry Street ($220,900 grant award from Office of Community and Rural Affairs) Planning electric vehicle charging area
  • 2020 Installed sidewalk to EAA Soccer Park connecting park to town sidewalk system


  • 2019 Replaced UV Final disinfecting equipment at WWTP ($100,000 investment)
  • 2019 Purchased Stohler Hangar at airport for electric department storage ($15,000)
  • 2019 Installed new security camera equipment at Town Hall, Town Garage, WWTP and park
  • 2019 Completed Sidewalk to Park ($924,303 investment INDOT 80/20 grant)
  • 2019 Installed new LED architectural street lighting fixtures along Main Street ($652,586 investment)


  • 2018 Retrofitted holiday wreaths/ decorations and added LED bulbs
  • 2018 – ongoing replacement of existing street light fixtures with energy efficient LED fixtures (approximately $3500 invested annually)
  • 2018 Replaced water main under Main Street ($816,687 investment)
  • 2018 Energy retrofit to WWTP office adding insulation, drywall, new furnace, new doors/ windows andvLED lighting
  • 2018 Completed $359,900 in street milling/ repaving/ ADA ramps ($269,925.00 was awarded fromvINDOT 75/25 Community Crossings Grant)
  • 2018 Created 50/50 grant program for resident tree removal


  • 2017 Performed extensive maintenance on Army Corps of Engineers Levee, dredging, vegetation removal and structure repairs
  • 2017 Completed $135,558.00 in street milling/ repaving ($67,779 was awarded from INDOT 50/50 Community Crossings Grant)
  • 2017 - Introduced new zoning classification of A2 to be more residential-friendly and rezoned the agricultural area immediately surrounding the town.
  • 2017 - Introduction of the Hagerstown Police Department K9 unit.
  • 2017 - Return of the Nettle Creek Players performance group.
  • 2017 - Upgraded meter reading software, upgrade meters to radio read.
  • 2017 - Purchased new bucket truck.
  • 2017 - Improved Dana lift station accessibility
  • 2017 - Continued with televising project of sewers.
  • 2017 - Participated in the Certified Work Ready Communities program by WorkOne.
  • 2017 - Replacement of all mainstreet intersections sidewalk/curbs completed to be ADA compliant.
  • Sep 2017 - $150,000 Blighted Housing Demolition Grant used for the purpose of removing 5 dilapidated houses in Hagerstown.
  • Spring 2017 - Fiber optic network into Hagerstown and blocks adjacent to Main Street completed.
  • Jan 2017 - Received Main Street Designation from State of Indiana.

2016 and Earlier

  • 2016 Updated Town Hall with new paint, carpet, vinyl flooring and LED lighting
  • 2016 - Renovation of the golf course.
  • 2016 - Created greenspace in parks by removing Ohio Gas Building at the Hagerstown Park.
  • 2016 - Formed a 501-c entity called Heart of Hagerstown to represent downtown merchants.
  • 2015 Attracted new company that provides home healthcare programs and services.
  • Jan 2015 - Blighted Housing Demolition Grant rewarded for the purpose of tearing down abandoned buildings, funded through Indiana's Hardest Hit Fund.
  • Jan 2015 - 2022 - Made $5000 contribution to Communities in Schools.
  • Oct 2014 - Received grant to construct path/walkway from Main Street to the Hagerstown Park.