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August Stellar Advisory Committee Update


CITY OF CRAWFORDSVILLE

MAYOR’S STELLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

August 15, 2016 

On August 15th  members of the Mayor’s Stellar Advisory Committee met for its monthly meeting. Mayor Todd Barton said he believes the City is still a little ahead of scheduled from where they thought they would be at this time and are ahead of where other Stellar communities have been at this stage of the game.

 

UPDATES ON MAJOR PROJECTS

POCKET PARK
The big news for the Pocket Park is twofold – the name of the park, Pike Place, was unveiled on Saturday, August 6th during the Farmer’s  Market.  MCCF interns Brooke Monts and Morgan Kincaid organized the unveiling with comments by Mayor Todd Barton, Wabash President Gregory Hess, and MCCF Director Kelly Taylor.  There were over 350 name submittals and of those four individuals suggested the name Pike Place.  Those individuals were Elizabeth Justice, Pat Sosbe, Monte Thompson, and Mary Lou Watkins.

The other news was on the design front.  Rundell Ernstberger as the design consultant has begun work on a concept design and will be meeting soon with some community members to get input on the design, as well as working from the Wabash WDPD report.  Once they have a design concept there will be an open community input meeting to gather ideas, suggestions, and comments on the concept.

The Mayor also noted that we are looking for ways to use the area even before it is complete. He noted that the Bi-Centennial Celebration is scheduled to take place there. Anyone who has a group or has ideas to use this property for a project is encouraged to contact the Mayor.

This project is a joint effort between the City of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County Community Foundation and Wabash College.

Ground-breaking is expected in the Spring of 2017 which would be right on schedule.

 


FUSION 54
This project continues to move forward while it is still in the acquisition phase. The appraisal process has now been with the next step preparing an offer to purchase an option on the property. Once the city has the option in place we can move ahead with acquiring the funding to purchase the property. It is hoped that this property will be in the hands of the City by early 2017.

All of the environmental testing, soil boring, and survey work has also been completed.  The design is at the 30% complete stage which is where construction management steps in with the first overall cost estimate. There have been some small delays as we work through a few design/cost issues but in general the project is still on schedule.

The income survey has been completed and the results were within the range that it needed to be to apply for the OCRA grant. That process will begin immediately by Amy Miller who is handling the grant work for this project. This was a big piece of the puzzle which was needed to secure the funding needed to complete this project.


DOWNTOWN TRAIL
Several meetings have taken place with INDOT regarding the Downtown Trail and those discussions have gone well. This will likely be the last project done because of its complexity and scope.

The Downtown Trail will be completed in two phases. Phase I will be beginning at the railroad tracks on South Grant and head north to Wabash, then east to Walnut Street then north to Main Street.  Trail consultant HWC has been waiting for INDOT to issue the Notice to Proceed which was granted Friday, August 5th, so they are beginning their work to create concept drawings of the trail for our review.

While the project will be done in phases it is still hoped that both phases will be completed by the same consultant so the look will remain the same.

The presentation for Phase II was presented to INDOT on June 22. INDOT has indicated we should have their decision by the end of August.  If we receive the additional funds requested then the best case scenario would be to start the program by August of 2018. The worst case scenario would be it would start by mid to late 2020.

This project is being developed carefully as it is critical to the health and future of downtown commerce.  If done correctly, this will further enhance the Wabash and downtown Crawfordsville connection. The goal is for this Loop to resemble the Cultural Trail in Indianapolis in its impact on the businesses in the area.  There are a number of issues to be worked out including how to create the Loop without losing downtown parking spaces as well as revising the streetscape along Main Street.

 

BIG 4 TRAIL
There have been many discussions between the City of Crawfordsville, CSX and R.R. Donnelley. The discussions with CSX seem to be changing weekly as they are anxious to get the project started.

The shift to try to fund this project using private funding sources is still on-going. A non-profit group will be created to help with funding this project as well as several other Park and Rec.  related projects such as a possible Dog Park. They would be used to help secure grants for the Big 4 Trail and other park/recreational projects in the future. The objective of this project is to tie the existing Sugar Creek Trail and Downtown trails to the site of the Fusion 54 building and to the Crawfordsville Middle School.  

One of the major pieces to making this happen is to get the CSX railroad in the area off-line. There have been some new people assume key roles with CSX and they appear to want to make this happen. Talks have been very positive with CSX officials as they want to move as quickly as possible on this.

The mayor is working with a development team to create a new intermodal site for LSC Communications (formerly RR Donnelly) still serviced by CSX at on off-site location.


BEN HUR BUILDING
The transfer of the property into the hands of a private developer has been completed. 

Work on the exterior of the building has begun and new protective netting around the building is in place which allowed the barriers on the sidewalk to be removed for the first time in several years. In addition, the new owners have been doing extensive work on the roof of the building.

A meeting between the contractors, owners and Wabash College also took place recently.  The developer is now considering layout options for the make up of the interior of the building.

HISTORIC WHITLOCK NEIGHBORHOOD
This, along with the Pocket Park, should be one of the first projects to have visible progress. There is a need to better inform and educate the residents in the area of this program to encourage them to sign-up.

Steve Talbert of CAPWI said this was an area of some disappointment as they have not gotten the response they had hoped for during the initial phase of the project despite several mailings, meetings, and door to door canvassing of both the original designated area as well as the expanded area. The eligibility area was extended from the original east border of Whitlock Ave to the intersection of Binford and Market Streets. Part of the problem is due to the fact many of the homes in that area are not owner occupied and thus are not available for the $25,000 worth of rehab per home. A total of $500,000 in grants is available. So far 10 local residents have shown interest in getting money to help do repairs and updates to their properties free of charge. Out of those only 3 have been fully qualified to receive benefits.  IHCDA would like for there to be enough qualified homes to use up the full grant before they release any funding. Many homeowners seem suspicious of these services being offered at no charge.

Steve Talbert and Randy Burnette and Community Action Program Inc. of Western Indiana are leading up this project.

 

KEEPING THE PUBLIC INFORMED
The Mayor announced that everyone can keep up-to-date on the Stellar projects in a couple of ways.

The first is on the City’s website (www.crawfordsville.net) where a button has been placed on the left side of the home page. It has the overall Stellar proposal and will be where residents can go for updated information as the City moves though the Stellar process.

In addition, there will be an update in the local newspapers every quarter. The Mayor said he will be supplying an update to the local media soon as he feels it is important to keep the public up-to-date. He said the response to his newspaper columns has been very positive.

LAUNCH INDIANA
City Planner Brandy reported that the Launch Indiana project was now complete.  There was a lunch meeting held on August 4th where 15 individuals from around the community talked about entrepreneurial opportunities and where someone interested in starting a business would go for help and mentorship. These resources will be used in building an Entrepreneurial Map of Indiana that can be used for start-up businesses seeking a location.   A report will also be generated to help us locally market ourselves as a location friendly to business start-ups, as well as champion some of the new business activities happening here already.

OTHER RELATES PROJECTS
The Mayor informed the group that the Old Hospital Project is expected to be complete very soon. The interior and exterior work is in its final stages. Rental of these apartments is in process and an open house is being planned.

Recently a piece of property at the corner of Tinsley Avenue and Jones Street had been purchased by the owners of Historic Whitlock Apartments and the existing duplex has been taken down and a green space with possible a playground will be put in that place.

Dir. Of Operations Dale Petrie reported on progress of other Stellar communities and related the timing and completion of their projects to our progress and time table.

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Stellar Advisory Committee will take place at 10 a.m. September 19, 2016.