The new year brings a lot of excitement to Hendricks County. Continued growth and development around the county will provide visitors, businesses, organizations and racing enthusiasts even more reasons to visit Hendricks County in 2018.

Here are five new additions to Hendricks County in 2018 that I'm most excited about.

Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center

The construction of the seven-story, $25 million Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Plainfield is scheduled to be completed this fall, and it's pretty darn exciting. This thing is going to be enormous -- it will cover 8 acres of land, boast 175 hotel rooms, at least 5,000 square feet of meeting space, 20,000 square feet of conference rooms, a full-service restaurant and many more amenities.


Embassy Suites front rendering, looking east
Embassy Suites front rendering, looking east

Located within a stone's throw of I-70 and the Indianapolis International Airport, Embassy Suites will be a game-changer when it comes to Hendricks County hosting conferences.

The Indiana Tourism Association already has staked its claim as the first organization to book a conference at the new Embassy Suites facility. In March 2019, they will hold their annual Indiana Tourism Conference there, attracting about 300 visitors and utilizing 260 room nights at Embassy Suites and neighboring Staybridge Suites.

In addition to the Indiana Tourism Conference, Hendricks County remains in negotiations with three other conference organizers with more announcements likely coming over the next few months. This is exciting stuff!

W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park


Artist's rendering of W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park
Artist's rendering of W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park

In the planning stages for years, 2018 will finally bring the start of construction of the 140-acre W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park in southwestern Washington Township.

Hendricks County Parks & Recreation will open W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park in phases over the next few years, and Phase One will offer some trails, a nature playground, a bicycle adventure course and another amenity that I'm not at liberty to divulge just yet -- but trust me, it's going to be super cool!

Click here to view the new park on Google Maps. You'll see that it's easily accessible from U.S. 40 and State Road 267. It's going to be a popular Hendricks County destination and, as parks do, it's going to drive the value of surrounding properties up.

Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brew House 

Up in northern Hendricks County, the little town of Lizton has been experiencing some noticeable growth lately with the recent openings of Bear's Garden Center and Landscaping and Norelu. In 2018, Lizton will welcome Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brew House to their community, and as a beer fanatic who lived in Texas for 10 years, I couldn't be more excited.

Located at 411 N. State St. in Lizton, Rusted Silo plans to open in early 2018 to serve their own beer along with southern classics such as barbecued ribs, smoked chicken, brisket, collard greens, peach cobbler and more.

It will be a family-friendly restaurant, and you can follow their Facebook page to keep up with how things are coming along ahead of their opening.

Follow our blog, too, because you can bet that the first chance I get after they open, I'm making a beeline to Lizton to check it out! 'Winner Take All' Event at Lucas Oil Raceway


Lucas Oil Raceway will host a new event in 2018
Lucas Oil Raceway will host a new event in 2018

Racing enthusiasts will want to mark Saturday, Sept. 8 on their calendar for the new Super Select "Winner Take All" Super Late Model race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg.

In a nutshell, winners of big race events around the country in 2017 and 2018 will be invited to participate in a star-studded day of racing at Lucas Oil Raceway during the weekend of the Brickyard 400. Already, Kyle Busch, Johnny Sauter, Casey Roderick, Harrison Burton, Preston Peltier and Noah Gragson have received invitations.

The Speed51 Super Select will be hosted by Track Enterprises and sanctioned by the Champion Racing Association (CRA). A pair of features will be contested that evening, one for the Super Late Models and a 100-lap race for the USAC Silver Crown Series. The winner of the Super Late Model race will have a chance to win at least $10,000.

Avon Town Hall Park and Washington Township Park Connection

The Town of Avon has received federal grants to make significant connectivity improvements to Avon Town Hall Parkand Washington Township Park that visitors will be able to enjoy in 2018.

One phase of the project involves extending the trail on the west side of White Lick Creek from Washington Township Park to County Road 100 South, and construction on this phase will begin in 2018. Another phase will create a trail from Washington Township Park to County Road 100 North with a crossing underneath U.S. 36. Construction on this phase is also scheduled to begin in 2018.

This multi-phase project has already connected Avon Town Hall Park with the Avon-Washington Township Public Library, creating a pedestrian crossing across U.S. 36 at County Road 625 East that includes a pedestrian refuge island in between eastbound and westbound traffic.