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Old May 17th, 2007, 05:40 PM   #1
cwilson758
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Metro Indianapolis Development News

(rolls eyes) Looks like the metro is getting another "Main Street USA" downtown, this time in Fishers.

Fishers wants to demolish, rebuild
Town hopes to create vibrant downtown

FISHERS, Ind. -- The state's fastest-growing town is searching for something it has never had: a vibrant center at the heart of sprawling suburbia.Town officials here have announced plans to demolish up to 125 homes and businesses in the oldest part of town to clear the way for a pedestrian-friendly shopping and residential district where a future night on the town might feature a fine meal, a stroll through an art gallery or a seat on the lawn to listen to classical music.
The $100 million Fishers Town Center would be built from scratch on land west of the I-69 interchange, east of the municipal complex and on both sides of the town's main drag, the five-lane 116th Street.
Developers envision townhomes, apartments and offices mixing with restaurants, shops and cultural attractions, all linked by promenade-specked plots of green space.
"This would be a pedestrian-friendly project that we hope would be a destination as well as a community gathering place," Town Council President Scott Faultless said.
The council has tentatively agreed to hire Cleveland developer Fairmont Properties to develop the project. Fairmont has done similar projects elsewhere.
This one won't be easy.
The company says it will begin negotiating with 86 landowners in about two weeks to make offers to purchase 125 properties. On Tuesday night, about 35 landowners met with the developer at a special meeting in Fishers.
"We are not bottom feeders. We are not here to steal your property," said Randy Ruttenberg, principal of Fairmont. "We recognize there should be some premium for what we buy."
The targeted area has changed over the years and now is mostly older, single-family homes and houses that have been converted to small, walk-up businesses -- a reflection of the commercialization of the area, such as the Target-anchored shopping center to the east.
Still, some residents have never lived in another home and were reluctant to move.
Mary Lou Jarrett, 87, said "it would take a lot of money" for her to sell. Jarrett, who has lived in the same house on South Street near the railroad tracks since 1937, said she already lives in a "pedestrian-friendly" community.
"That's what we have now,'' Jarrett said. "Why tear it down and do it differently?"
Other residents, such as Evelyn Roudebush, 79, said she would be willing to move if she could afford to buy a new home within the new town center.
"If they offered me enough that I could buy here, that would be fine," said Roudebush, who has lived on South Street for 28 years. "But if they don't, I don't know. I love my area and my neighbors."
Ruttenberg said the project cannot succeed if his company has to build around a handful of holdouts. "It is an all-or-nothing game for us."
Town Manager Gary Huff also said the project would proceed only with the cooperation of the landowners. He said the town wants to avoid seizing homes through eminent domain.
Fishers Chamber of Commerce officials have tried appealing to homeowners' civic pride, saying the project would benefit the community for years.
"We are at a crossroads," the chamber's Gary Reynolds said at the community meeting. "If we couldn't get this off the ground now, it will never happen."
The new residences likely would include brownstone townhouses and a variety of brick homes, along with some businesses with second-floor rental apartments. Ruttenberg said the retail outlets would be upscale national and regional names.
The town also plans to try to lure a satellite college campus, an amphitheater and a high-tech children's museum.
Fairmont intends to have a more detailed development plan in about 60 days.
Huff said Fairmont's 17 other downtown projects in the Midwest impressed council members and satisfied them that the company, with 15 full-time employees, was sound financially.
Ruttenberg said the downtowns that Fairmont designs emphasize community events, and the Fishers project could look similar to what Fairmont did in Hudson, Ohio, a town of 17,000 outside Cleveland.
Hudson's downtown features shops such as Caribou Coffee and Cold Stone Creamery; townhouses with granite countertops and hardwood floors; free music at the outdoor theater on Friday nights; and a "Taste of Hudson" festival on Memorial Day weekend.
But back in Fishers, at the Nickel Plate Diner on 116th Street, restaurant manager Lars Tully said he likes downtown just the way it is.
"We do fine here, and I'm not sure we need any more development in town,'' he said. "They just built the municipal center about 10 years ago. When do you say, 'Enough'?''
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Old May 17th, 2007, 07:01 PM   #2
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I would prefer to see this type of suburban development (mixed use and pedestrian oriented) than our standard seperated car dependent development. Even Fishers needs a downtown. Since they don't have one they will have to create it from scratch.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 06:40 PM   #3
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IndyStar.com Metro & State

9:51 AM May 18, 2007


Slots expected to boost Anderson traffic

ANDERSON, Ind. -- The addition of slot machines to Hoosier Park also could bring thousands of additional cars each day to the horse racing track.


Officials at the track have started planning meetings this week to discuss how it will add slot machines to its facility and how that will affect the community.
The Indiana General Assembly voted during the recently concluded legislative session to allow up to 2,000 slot machines at Indiana's two horse racing tracks, Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs outside Shelbyville, in exchange for a licensing fee of $250 million.
Citing an outside consulting firm, Anderson Director of Municipal Development Michael Widing said slots could generate as many as 10,000 additional cars a day. But he also said that number was only speculation.
Hoosier Park President and General Manager Rick Moore said the group probably would work with an engineering firm to assess the impact the expansion will have on traffic.
"We're trying to determine how we're going to do it, where we're going to do it," Moore said. "I know there's a lot of anticipation and people want to know a lot of information."
Mooore said he could not comment on what the park would do until he saw results from a study.
Widing, who requested a traffic impact analysis, said everyone hoped the increased traffic would bring business to the community's restaurants and stores.
"I think it's going to be excellent for Anderson business because it will bring increased trade for this area," he said.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 05:18 PM   #4
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Not quite Indy metro, but this is a big enough deal that I think it's worth posting.


Relief in sight: Feds OK bypass for Kokomo
Designed to ease congestion, new $345M segment is seen as vital to larger U.S. 31 project

By Bill Ruthhart

Federal officials have given Indiana the green light for a new $345 million U.S. 31 bypass around Kokomo.

U.S. 31 is one of Indiana's major arteries, running north and south through the heart of the state. It's also long been considered one of Indiana's largest traffic headaches, with Kokomo viewed by many as the worst snag in the trip from South Bend to Indianapolis.

Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman announced Friday that the Federal Highway Administration had approved the planned route east of the city.

Approval of the Kokomo stretch was the second of three federal hurdles state officials need to clear before they can complete the $1.1 billion upgrade of U.S. 31 between Indianapolis and South Bend.

Last year, the highway administration approved the Indiana Department of Transportation's planned changes in and around South Bend. State officials still are planning changes for U.S. 31 in Hamilton County. Those are expected to be ready for federal approval in a couple of years.

Friday's federal approval is key, because it allows the state to finalize the design of the project's Kokomo phase, acquire land in that area and stay on schedule for a 2009 groundbreaking.

The new route, expected to take six years to build, will allow motorists to avoid the 140 intersections on the existing U.S. 31 through Kokomo. "This will go a long way toward eliminating wasted fuel, wasted time and crashes," said INDOT spokesman Andy Dietrick.

"This is a major milestone for the citizens of Indiana, especially those who routinely fight traffic in and around Kokomo," Skillman said in a statement.

The entire project is to be completed by 2017, with work in Hamilton County scheduled last.

Although the $1.1 billion project won't make all of U.S. 31 interstate-quality, it will address the highway's three most troublesome spots: Hamilton County, Kokomo and South Bend.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...OCAL/705190495
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Old May 19th, 2007, 05:22 PM   #5
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Some additional info on the Kokomo bypass-of-a-bypass.



http://www.us31kokomo.com/
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Old June 16th, 2007, 08:12 AM   #6
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I've driven that road before and I'm all for a bypass. I can't believe they don't already have one.
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Old June 18th, 2007, 09:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Resident View Post
I've driven that road before and I'm all for a bypass. I can't believe they don't already have one.
They already do.. but they spoiled it. US31's original intention was to be a bypass. If they don't make this new bypass non-stop with exits it will just turn into the same thing.

I wish it was I-31, non-stop from 96th st (Indy) to South Bend.
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Old June 18th, 2007, 09:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjaminooo View Post
They already do.. but they spoiled it. US31's original intention was to be a bypass. If they don't make this new bypass non-stop with exits it will just turn into the same thing.

I wish it was I-31, non-stop from 96th st (Indy) to South Bend.
I've always that that an Interstate upgrade for US 31 is equally, it not more important than an I-69 extension to Evansville.
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Old June 18th, 2007, 06:58 PM   #9
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Glad they are setting Kokomo up for new sprawl to the east of the city. Track housing, gas stations and McDonald's.
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Old June 18th, 2007, 09:07 PM   #10
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so a highway that dodges the city?
Oh this wont be bad for Kokomo at all
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Old June 19th, 2007, 03:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cityfan View Post
I've always that that an Interstate upgrade for US 31 is equally, it not more important than an I-69 extension to Evansville.
US 31 will be limited access in all of the major metro areas it serves. By 2017, US 31 will be a freeway from I-465 to SR 38, around Kokomo, and from US 30 to US 20 south of South Bend. That is sufficient.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 03:08 AM   #12
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Also, ground was broken today on a new transmission factory at the intersection of US 31 and SR 28 outside of Tipton, which is 40 miles north of Indianapolis.

It will employ 1400 people, but most of these jobs will be filled by workers at Chrysler plants in Kokomo.
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