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Greenwood leaders announce plans to change downtown

GREENWOOD, Ind.-- Greenwood city leaders announce plans for a number of projects that would ultimately change the face of the downtown area in the coming years.

Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said the overall price of the different projects is expected to represent a $25.4 million dollar investment by the city.  Most of the money would come from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funding, but would also come from the city’s Parks and Sanitation Department budgets.  Investments by private developers are also expected to contribute to the projects.

“The south side is seeing a resurgence right now, and we want to lead the charge of that resurgence,” Myers said.

Among the proposed projects outlined Monday, is the city’s plan to redevelop the old Greenwood Middle School property, which the city recently purchased for $1 million.  3D renderings of the project show most of the middle school torn down and replaced with several buildings which would house townhouses, office space and possible restaurants.  The 19-acre plot would be divided into three new city blocks.  The school’s gym could be preserved and made available for people who move into the surrounding area.

“We want to make our downtown more livable so that people can come live, work and play in the downtown area,” Myers said.

Another major part of the project would include redesigning the large city-center parking lot located at Main Street and Madison Avenue.  The new design would include a two-story, underground parking garage with a public plaza built on top of it.  The site would also include three new buildings.

“Three two-story buildings that would be retail and commercial on the first level and apartments on the second level,” Myers said.

Plans also include using Market Plaza to connect between Main street to Madison Avenue, leading into a redesigned Old City Park.  The redesigned park would feature new landscaping, sitting and picnic areas, and a possible amphitheater for outdoor performances.  The whole area of Main and Madison would be connected by new walking and biking trails.  Machledt Drive would be converted into a walking trail leading in to the park area, providing better access to the Greenwood Public Library.  A new connection would also be made between Market Plaza and Surina Way, as well as between Madison Avenue and Meridian Street.  Plans for a new roundabout at the intersection of Madison Ave and Smith Valley Road are already in the works, with construction slated for 2018.

The downtown streets of Main and Madison would also be redesigned to include wider sidewalks for better walkability and biking.  The rebuild Madison Avenue would also include a new bus stop for the new Rapid Transit Red Line.

Aside from new retail and restaurant space, Myers said the overall project would add about 450 new apartments and 130 new condos to downtown Greenwood.  The vision for downtown Greenwood is in keeping with what several other central Indiana communities are doing with their downtown areas.

“Fishers is exploding in their downtown, Carmel is doing an amazing job in their downtown,” Myers said.  “Kokomo, Mayor Goodnight is doing a great job with his downtown.”

Each phase of the project will still need approval from city commissions and the Greenwood City Council.  Redevelopment Commission President, Brent Tilson, said he expects approval will come, and Greenwood residents will start seeing downtown changes sooner than they expect.

“I would say you’ll start to see things happen in the next twelve months to two years in different phases.”

The city has posted the plan details and map renderings on its website.  You can view that information here.