St. Joseph County, IN - The deadline is fast approaching for Indiana counties to apply for a switch to the Central Time Zone. Counties have until September 16th to make their pitch to the federal government.
Here in Michiana the battle rages on, over which time zone makes more sense for the region - Eastern or Central?
Ultimately the decision is up to the Department of Transportation but people on both sides of the debate feel they have valid reasons why the time zone should stay Eastern, or switch to Central.
"We are only two miles from the Michigan line, so when someone calls here and wants to book a tee time, we have to reference that we are on Indiana time,” said Linda Rogers.
Rogers is a member of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. She also owns Juday Creek Golf Course and she says the key in making St. Joseph County golf courses like hers more profitable and convenient is Eastern Time.
"This area has been termed Michiana and we need to stay Michiana, and stay along with Michigan , we are not called Chicagoland,” said Rogers .
But when it comes to economic influence, it's a clear shot we are Chicagoland, or at least that's what Notre Dame Associate Professor John Gaski says.
“Based on the boundaries, we see South Bend is easily in the Chicago range of economic influence,” said Gaski.
Therefore, he says his research, based on a marketing formula called Reilly’s Law of Retail Gravitation, points to Illinois , or Central Time, being most logical for St. Joseph County businesses, not Eastern Time like our neighbors to the north.
"We are not in their sphere of influence; they are in our sphere of influence. They need our time more than we need theirs,” said Gaski.
"Well, it is certainly easier, to conduct business with people that are on your same time zone,” said Rogers .
According to Rogers , the state Chamber of Commerce claims Indiana does more business in the Eastern Time zone than Central so she's hoping the Department of Transportation will leave Indiana on Eastern Time.
But as Gaski points out, a market's most profitable time zone isn't necessarily the time zone it's in.
"If that were true, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce would be demanding a move to the Eastern Time zone, because they do a higher proportion of out of market business in the East,” he said.
Rogers ’ opinion does not stand-alone. She has the backing of the Golf Course Owners Association along with local and state Home Builder's Associations.
Meanwhile, St. Joseph County commissioners are asking for more opinions from residents. You can either call 235-9708 or email your suggestions.