Southsider Voice correspondent
Greenwood’s elected officials are pouring over the latest plan to redevelop and revitalize the city’s historic commercial core.
Downtown and its buildings on West Main Street and Madison Avenue would take on a refreshing new look if a proposed revitalization plan is approved by the City Council.
This is the fourth measure that has been developed, including two under the previous administration of Mayor Charles E. Henderson. He wanted a multimillion dollar City Building to be constructed on East Main near Washington Street, but the measure failed to gain the council’s approval.
Then in 2012 a plan was introduced for a new City Building to be built on the south side of Main near Madison. The initiative included a far-reaching multipurpose use for Old City Park.
The new plan continues first-term Mayor Mark Myers’ desire to link the Downtown commercial district, Old City Park, the City Center Building (former bank tower), Market Plaza and City Center Park (splash park).
The measure features several options, including dining and shopping opportunities, to increase the desirability of Downtown as a destination site and to improve pedestrian and traffic flow.
The proposal was presented to the council earlier this month as prepared by HWC Engineering and AXIS Architecture after input from an eight-member steering committee known as Restore Old Town Greenwood and the city’s planning and economic commissions and the public.
Developers of the plan stated: “Greenwood loves its Downtown and is very fond of its traditional character and local businesses … any revitalization efforts undertaken in Downtown reflect the traditional character of the Downtown.”
Twelve areas of development are detailed in the plan, which calls for facade improvements to 30 or more buildings at an estimated cost of $815,372.
Some councilors balked at those improvements and wanted a provision to tear down buildings, if necessary, to enhance Downtown. However, the Greenwood Historic Commercial District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Most of the buildings were constructed between 1902 and 1920.
Myers has expressed his disapproval of tearing down buildings in the commercial corridor and is urging councilors to approve a plan that would get the city moving on an enhanced Downtown.
Downtown has seen new business development in recent months with The Revery, an upscale restaurant in the old Walton Furniture/Van Valer Law Firm building on the southeast corner of Main Street and Madison Avenue, plus Vino Villa, a winery/restaurant on North Madison.
The plan also calls for improvements for pedestrian and motorized access to Downtown through widened sidewalks and a possible roundabout, as well as rerouting some traffic through a Market Plaza/Pleasant Run Creek corridor.
Greenwood’s population has grown 200 percent since 1980 to more than 54,000 residents with a retail/business community shift from Downtown to Greenwood Park Mall and as far west as the commercial corridor along State Road 135.
Specifics of the initiative would reduce traffic lane widths to gain more pedestrian space on Main and Madison and eliminate any turning lanes at the intersection. Old City Park would become a site for civic activity, additional multipurpose development and a link between the splash park, Surina Square Park and Craig Park for heightened recreational usage.
A detailed traffic study analysis would be the first step to improve vehicular flow in the area. The council did pass a resolution to pay for the study with funds from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.