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August Stellar Update


CITY OF CRAWFORDSVILLE

MAYOR’S STELLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

August 21, 2017

On Aug. 21, 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. To continue momentum several events will be scheduled for the site this summer.

Tables bought with a grant from an OCRA Quick Impact Place Making Grant have been purchased and a portable gazebo was purchased with funds from Advocates for Livable Communities through the League of Women Voters and placed on the property giving that space many more uses.

That life size games such as Yardzee, Chess and Jenga are now available to be used during Farmer’s Market. So far they have added to the number of people getting involved during activities at the park.

It is hoped this project will be bid out this this winter with work beginning in the spring of 2018. HWC has been awarded the design contract for this project

 

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 performing Construction Management Company. The first items to be addressed with be a new roof and replacement of one of the HVAC rooftop units. In addition, the mansard roof may be removed as part of the roofing project.

Preliminary drawings were to be due on Aug. 24.

A landscape company has been hired as well to help to maintain the outside of the building and the grounds which have been neglected over the years.

All the tenants on the third and fourth floor have now been relocated and the remaining tenant on the second floor will move out in November. The outside offices on the first floor could be occupied by PNC until as late as next April.

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

 

TRAILHEAD PARK

The City closed on the property on Aug. 11.  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.

This site will be simple but nice. It will include one shelter, some green space and a parking lot.

It is hoped that the bidding can be done in the winter and construction can begin in the spring of 2018.


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.

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).

The most recent development is that a possible location 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 plan for the retiring the 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.

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

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 be independently developed.

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.

A meeting has been scheduled with the developers and local officials and still little movement or progress has been seen. If things do not move in a more timely manner the City and County may begin to apply pressure to force some action. At that time they are going to be told they need to begin moving on this project or they might lose that option. The developers were to be in town before the next meeting so an update should come at the September meeting. Mayor Barton said he would not allow this project to just sit idle.

 

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 was been extended to 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 took place on July 18th. Work should begin at any time on some of these houses.

The third and final inspections of many of these houses were to be done by the end of the month so the bidding could be completed this fall. It is believed that some of the construction could be completed by the end of this year and the goal is for all the work on all the houses be completed in the next 12 months.

 

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 and that process should be completed at the September City Council meeting.

 

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Stellar Advisory Committee will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 18, 2017.