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January 2017 Stellar Advisory Committee Update


CITY OF CRAWFORDSVILLE

MAYOR’S STELLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Jan.17, 2017

On Jan. 17, 2017, members of the Mayor’s Stellar Advisory Committee met for its monthly meeting. Mayor Barton noted that the committee would continue to schedule meetings at 10 a.m. on the third Monday of each month at Chase Bank on the third floor.

 

UPDATES ON MAJOR PROJECTS

POCKET PARK
Work continues to progress with Pike Place Park. Last month the design of the park by Rundell Ernstberger, the design consultant for the park, was presented. This project has a completed conceptual design that took into account information, which had been shared three meetings with the design team, and a community input meeting held on Dec. 15. Approximately 40 people attended the public meeting and the project was generally well received.  The public was introduced to the concept of Crowd-Granting, and IHCDA developed program that matches locally raised funding for specific projects.  The hope is that amenities can be added to the park using this type of funding.

It was announced that Indiana American Water has made a $10,000 donation to help with the funding of the park. It is hoped that possibly some other donations will also be received to help with added items to the original design concept. The original plans call for a “great foundation” to be constructed. Additional amenities can be added as funding becomes available.

It is hoped that with the design set, the final detailed plans can be completed by late January.  Bidding should be done in the spring of 2017. That would allow the park to begin construction later in the spring and complete as scheduled in September 2017.

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


FUSION 54
In the past month this may have been the piece which has seen the most activity, at least behind the scenes.

This project continues to move forward and the City now has an option for the property.  This is vital to the entire OCRA grant process and by having the option on the property the acquisition and grant processes can continue. The OCRA grant was filed in December.  The City and OCRA are now working through some issues with the proposal.

The building plans continue to move forward and are at the 50 percent completion point.  Once the grant is approved the city can move forward with closing on the property.  Construction bids could take place this spring with ground breaking later this year.  Occupancy will be in January of 2018 if construction stays on schedule.


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 completed because of its complexity and scope.

The Downtown Trail has been separated into 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

 

The Phase I part of the project is moving forward and a presentation on the look of the project was made by Catherine Puckett at the October SAC meeting. There are a lot of details to be worked out but it is taking shape. The Mayor also said that they have met with all the property owners along the way and they all seem to be onboard.

 

Phil Goode of Crawfordsville Electric and Light said they would be providing lighting for part of the trail. This will save on some of the cost of the project which would have been used for that lighting.

Jim Rice also said that the impact of the trial when completed will be a huge boost to the downtown area as it will once and for all be tied to Wabash College.

Phase I is in the conceptual phase and getting ready to enter in to the technical phase in 2017.  The bidding and actual construction is still being scheduled to begin in 2019.

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.  Phase II part of the project was not funded by INDOT during their latest call for projects. Jim Rice of HWC said that was not all that surprising as the City has four open INDOT projects as of now. Once one or two of those are completed he feels confident the Phase II part of the project will be funded and he sees no reason it wouldn’t be.

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

Mayor Barton said there has been some very positive meetings with CSX and now things are back to where the original plans were. While there have been some good meetings lately between the City of Crawfordsville, CSX and R.R. Donnelley, still nothing has been set in stone.

A new developer who has recently been brought in to help get this moving has done a good job of moving this project forward. The developer has past experience working with CSX. Meetings and conversations with CSX continue weekly.

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 Recreation 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 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. 

Some changes have taken place from the original Stellar concept. A hotel operator has been secured by the owners of the building. It is now the idea of the hotel operator that there will not be a condo/hotel mix. It will be all hotel rooms – 62 in all.

The new operator will also have first choice at bringing in the restaurant/bar on the first floor. If they decide not to do this or can’t secure someone to run that it will be opened back up of a private party.

There will not be a lot of work seen to the general public here until next spring, but the planning and design phase is on-going.  The important piece for 2016

was to complete the exterior repairs to the building and that has been accomplished.

The public should see some significant activity at this site come this spring.

 

HISTORIC WHITLOCK NEIGHBORHOOD

The city is now partnering with a new group on this project. That group is Administrative Resource Associates who have been doing this type of work for nearly 30 years. They have also worked with other Stellar Committees with a great deal of success. This group will take a completely different approach and that has helped to regain some of the excitement about this piece of the project.

The eligibility area will likely be 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.

 

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. Recently added is a quarterly report which the City does when it meets with all the state agencies involved. This includes a timetable and some updated plans on some of the projects.

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.

Comprehensive Plan Update

City Planner Brandy Allen reported that the process is under way to update the Comprehensive Plan for the City.  The plan will take into consideration the Stellar projects and their anticipated effect on the downtown area and quality of place in the city as well as look at improvements in areas outside of the Stellar designated area

Allen also informed the group the first My Vision/My Community group is working on their draft. They will be holding a public meeting in February to present this plan. This will be a warm-up for their presentation in April when they will give make a presentation to the Lt. Governor.

Crawfordsville is one of five communities in the state to be awarded participation in this program.  In this program the City will team up with youth in the community (we will be teaming up with the Crawfordsville Sunshine Society) to be mentored by Ball State and to come up with a project in which the group will see through to fruition. The program gives the group $500 to help with the project. Allen said there might be a possibility of some other match money to boost that total so they might be able to do a little bigger project.

OTHER RELATED PROJECTS

The mayor informed the committee with updates on the new fire station, the Walmart road situation, and the Concord Road project. 

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Stellar Advisory Committee will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 21,  2017.