Senior staff writer
Mayor Mark Myers foresees a uniquely different Downtown Greenwood within the next 20 years.
Myers shared a vision for a diversified Downtown with new apartments, townhouses, office buildings and retail shops plus greenspace and more connected trails. The city recently purchased the Greenwood Middle School, which guarantees expansion of Downtown to Smith Valley Road.
“We are putting diversity into Downtown Greenwood,” said Myers at a rollout March 9. “A big part of Downtown is to provide livability.”
Myers’ emphasis was on the school site that eventually will give way to multipurpose development. The transformation would turn Downtown into a mecca for new residents and businesses.
Myers and city leaders also envision connectivity of trails and parks, gathering places, walkability, improved roadways and more greenspace. More buildings would dot the landscape on the vacated middle school property.
The mayor also reassured the public that the city’s plans would not abandon the heart of Greenwood, particularly existing buildings that have new facades along Main Street and Madison Avenue.
Concepts call for a gateway on Madison into Downtown with a landscaped median that would divide northbound and southbound traffic. Main Street also would be redone so that restaurant patrons could dine outside on wider sidewalks.
Redevelopment essentially awaits 9.9 acres of new or upgraded open space, 1.9 miles of reconstructed streetscapes, more than 75,000 square feet of new retail and office space, 450 apartments and 150 townhouses.
Initial redevelopment projects would cost $30 million, per estimates released by Myers.
Tax increment finance funds would be used to help finance infrastructure improvements: Old City Park redevelopment, underground parking garage at Main and Madison, Market Plaza/Surina Way connector, Main/Meridian intersection and Madison Avenue improvements, Madison/Smith Valley roundabout, Main Street improvement, and middle school demolition. Machledt Drive would become a pathway for walkers and bicycle riders between Meridian and Madison.
Within 24 hours after announcing the his vision, Myers said four developers with high interest already had contacted the his office.
Myers cautioned that redevelopment of the middle school property would not happen overnight. Although the new middle school on Averitt Road will open for the 2017-18 school year, the old building would not close until the end of the year. Once the building is vacated the Police Department and city courts would move into the building while the Surina Center is renovated.
“We want safer roads, walkability and a place for people to live, work and play in Greenwood,” Myers said.
Redevelopment of the school property eventually would have paths and walkways connecting to Greenwood Library and businesses on Main and Madison.
Myers could not contain his excitement over news from Indy Fuel owners that a new multimillion dollar IcePlex would be constructed near the Freedom Springs Aquatic Center.