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June Stellar Advisory Committee Update


CITY OF CRAWFORDSVILLE

MAYOR’S STELLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

June 19, 2017

On April 17, members of the Mayor’s Stellar Advisory Committee met for its monthly meeting. Dale Petrie 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. To continue momentum several events will be scheduled for the site this summer. One event is to have a Senior Tent during Farmer’s market. In addition, an application was recently made to try to get a Quick Impact Place Based Grant which would be $5,000 to help host an event on this site.

It is hoped to activate this space during the summer months. Some of the Quick Impact Place Based Grant money was to be used to buy life-sized games to be used on this site. Those items were to be purchased by the end of June.

It is hoped this project will be bid out this fall or the spring of 2018 with work beginning in the fall of 2018.

This project is a joint effort between the City of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County Community Foundation, Wabash College, and a portion of the OCRA grant received with Stellar.


FUSION 54
The City now owns the PNC Building, located at the corner of West Main Street and South Washington. PNC will continue to occupy the first floor with the top three floors being remodeled to fit the Fusion concept.

Steve Akers has been secured as the architect for the project and Envoy will be the Construction Company used. The first items to be addressed with be a new roof which needs to be done soon. PNC will still occupy the bottom floor with the top three stories of the building getting redesigned.

It is hoped to have the bids out by late fall so work can take place during the winter months. In addition to redesigning the inside, talks have begun with PNC about redesigning the drive-through behind the building to help open up more parking and to keep their people inside the main building.

The City still has an option for the Crawford property and it has been extended until Aug. 1 and the transaction should be completed by then.  The lot which was originally to be purchased for the Fusion 54 building will be turned into green space and a trail head for the Big 4 Trail, with the parking lot being repaved, new grassy area with trees and other plantings, and a picnic/shelter building added.

Four firms were interviewed for the design of this project and HWC was awarded the contract. They are also designing the downtown trail so the designs should complement each other.  The constructions costs should be reduced as the project will be bid as one package.


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.

Jim Rice informed the committee that paver samples have bene ordered. He also stated that field studies would be completed in the second quarter of this year, environmental studies would be done in the third quarter of 2017 and overall plans should be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

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.  Meetings are scheduled with Wabash to coordinate the lighting on the trail with that of the campus.

Jim Rice also said that the impact of the trial when completed will be a huge boost to the downtown area as it will finally 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 very 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 continues to be very positive meetings between the City of Crawfordsville, CSX and LSC Communications (formerly RR Donnelly), still nothing has been set in stone.

The most recent development is that a possible site for off-site loading has been found. That site is the old Impex property located off Louise Avenue. Should that agreement be reached then the path for the retiring of that CSX line can move forward.  The developer who has recently been brought in to coordinate a site and building design has done a good job of moving this project forward. The developer has past experience working with CSX. Meetings and conversations with CSX continue.

The shift to try to fund this trail 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. 


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 to 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 background activity at this time is concentrated on creating the financial plan to insure success of the project.

 

HISTORIC WHITLOCK NEIGHBORHOOD

The city is now collaborating 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 has been extended to now include the entire city. A scoring rubric has been created to give priority to those living in the designated Stellar project area, followed by such factors as disability, single parent, senior citizen, and income.

The properties which are to be worked on have been notified. There are 20 properties which will be included at a cost of up to $20,000 per house. The total grant is up to $500,000. House inspections are ready to be scheduled and a contractors meeting will be held on July 18th.

 

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 that 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 would 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 to update the Comprehensive Plan for the City is nearly complete. All that is left is not to go through the adoption process. 

OTHER RELATED PROJECTS

The mayor informed the committee with updates on the new fire station (which Will open July 15th), the Walmart road situation (which the City now has a signed purchase agreement for and now hopefully that project can be completed by the end of June), and the Concord Road project. 

 

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Stellar Advisory Committee will take place at 10 a.m. July. 17, 2017.