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May Stellar Advisory Committee Update


CITY OF CRAWFORDSVILLE
MAYOR’S STELLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE
May 16, 2016

On May 16 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 City of Crawfordsville closed on the largest piece of the two properties on Monday. The closing on the smaller piece of property should take place the week of May 23. After that point the property will officially be in the hands of the city.

With the property in hand this project is now free to proceed. This process can take place rather quickly, compared to the other projects, as no state or federal monies will be used. This is a joint effort between the City of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County Community Foundation and Wabash College.

The next step is to select a design team. The report from the public hearing back on Feb. 22 has will be shared with the design team which is selected and work can begin. More public input will be sought as well.

Mayor Todd Barton is still 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.


FUSION 54
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 now the project is still actually ahead of schedule and could be done as much as three months earlier than originally anticipated.

A meeting was held earlier this month with the different entities who will occupy the building. While each have their own ideas meetings such as this help to mold those ideas into one concept and to help strike a balance among those who will be in the building.

Design concept renderings and floor plans have been made and continue to be modified. A lot of work has been put into the exterior design of the building..

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.


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 done in two phases. Phase I will be begin at the railroad tracks on South Grant and head north to Wabash, then east to Walnut Street then north to Main Street.  The request for proposals for the designer on Phase I have been sent out and five letters of interest were received.  With five bidders in we are hoping for a competitive process.

Phase II of the project will go from Main Street east to Water Street, then south    on Water to Franklin.

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.

 

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. These discussions have led to the possibility of a Park Foundation being formed which would help with possible grants for this project and other park/recreational projects in the future. 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.  

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.


BEN HUR BUILDING

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. 

Work on the exterior of the building was expected to have begun this week. That did not happen but work is expected to begin at any time. The new owners have the contractors in place and ready to go. It is hoped that the removal of the caution tape on the sidewalks around the building could happen before the Strawberry Festival in early June.

 

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 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.

Following the meeting, there was another meeting with anyone interested about this project. A target date to possibly canvass the area was discussed. 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. It is hopped that some work from this project can be seen in the area soon.

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.

 

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 his second newspaper article would be appearing soon and that he received several comments after the first one.

INCOME SURVEY ON IT’S WAY – VERY IMPORTANT

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 went out. There currently is only about a 10 percent response rate so another round of 300 surveys should be going out soon. We are currently at a 49.05 percent rate of low to medium income. That rate needs to be 51 percent in order to qualify for state money.

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.

NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Stellar Advisory Committee will take place at 10 a.m. June 20.