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April Stellar Advisory Committee Update

April 18, 2016

On April 18 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.



There has been some great strides made in this over the past month. Verbal agreements have been received for the sale of the two properties that will make up the park. Written agreements are expected to be in hand by as early as the end of this week.

The next step is to dive into the design of the area. The report from the public hearing back on Feb. 22 has been received by Dale Petrie and that information will be used to help begin the design. More public input will be sought as well.

Mayor Todd Barton is hopeful construction could start as early as this summer and be completed as early as the end of this year. That would be well ahead of schedule and the Mayor acknowledges this would be an ambitious goal. However, he remains ‘very optimistic’ that this could happen.


This project is funded locally by the City, Wabash College, and the Montgomery County Community Foundation so should proceed quickly once the property is acquired..

This project continues to move forward while it is still in the acquisition phase. Appraisals have been received and the review appraisal is almost complete.

While still in the appraisal phase the current owner has given permission to allow access to the property for environmental testing, soil boring, and survey work. A time table has been developed and the critical deadlines have been laid out. As of the project is still actually ahead of schedule and could be done as much as three months earlier than originally anticipated.

Design concept renderings and floor plans were presented at the meeting. Those at the meetings were asked to look at the designs and offer their opinion. That information will be reviewed with changes still possible as the final design has not been completed. Work will continue on the design of the building and lot itself. The floor plans of the building itself have been pretty much finalized.

Once again the importance of the income survey was stressed as this has to be completed before our grant writer can properly submit a grant to OCRA.

Several meetings have taken place with INDOT regarding the Downtown Trail and those discussions have gone well.

The Downtown Trail will be done in phases. Phase I will be from the railroad tracks on South Grant and head north to Wabash, then east to Walnut Street to Main Street.  The request for proposals on Phase I have been sent out and it is hoped by the next meeting that the consultant for that phase of the project will have been named. The project itself will not have been bid out yet, but the consultant will hopefully be in place.

Phase II of the project will go from Main Street to Water Street.

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.

It is hoped INDOT will make the awards by early summer and at that point we will know if we qualified for additional money to enhance the project.  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.



There has been a shift in the project to try to get it completed using private funding sources. The objective of this project is to tie the existing trail to the site of the Fusion 54 building and possibly to the Crawfordsville Middle School.

Of course 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.

Also RR Donnelley has narrowed its choice to where it would like to off-load since the railroad would not go all the way to the plant.


The transfer of the property into the hands of a private developer is now complete.  There were some title issues that delayed this process but those were completed and the transfer was made. 

The new owners have the contractors line up and ready to go. Work on securing the exterior of the building should start taking place at any time. That means the removal of the caution tape on the sidewalks around the building could happen before the Strawberry Festival in early June. This can move rather quickly once it is transferred as the majority of the money tied up in this project is private and not governmental money.



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 and get them to sign-up.

CAP of Western Indiana is heading this piece of the project up. They have an appointment to meet with one homeowner and they are hoping that will be the beginning of the neighborhood getting more involved in the program.

There may still be the need for more public meetings or even a door-to-door campaign to get the word out.  Dale Petrie is working on a brochure which explains the project even more. As the weather turns nicer it is hoped more interest will come forward. There has been some interest from people in the area from the first public meeting, and applications from two neighborhood residents have been received.

This is a great way for those living in their own homes in the area to get work done which will improve their quality of life.  It is income based and there are procedures which must be followed, but it is at no cost to qualified owner occupied homes.  Randy Burnette and Community Action Program Inc. of Western Indiana are leading up this project.


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 ( 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 would be sending out that article to the papers soon.



City Planner Brandy Allen said the first group of the Income Survey has gone out.  We did not get the number of surveys needed turned back in so another round of 1,000 surveys have gone out. Without the responses from the survey the entire Fusion 54 project gets slowed down so if you receive a survey we urge you to complete it and get it back as soon as possible.  It is imperative that we get the public’s help in getting this survey back as it is needed before we can move forward with grant applications for the Fusion 54 project.

This information is needed before we can complete the application to OCRA which is the funding source for the Fusion 54 project. 

This survey will help define the amount of low to moderate income households we have. The higher that number the more aid and grants we can get from different funding sources. The survey is very basic and will be sent out in English and Spanish. It should not get confused with the same type of survey being conducted by the county for one of their projects. Residents are urged to fill out the survey as the faster the survey is completed the faster projects can move forward.


The next meeting of the Stellar Advisory Committee will take place at 10 a.m. May 16.