New roads at Fort Ben Harrison mark final phase of redevelopment

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LAWRENCE, Ind. -- Two new roads leading into Fort Benjamin Harrison are now open, marking the final phase of redevelopment at the former army base.

"It opens up the opportunity for us to add more retailers and more restaurants and activities for the area of Lawrence," said Freddie Burrus, Executive Director of the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority.

Officials opened the $3 million expansion at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday at Otis Avenue and Melner Road.

The military chose to close Fort Benjamin Harrison in the 1990s. Since then, city leaders have been working to make sure it didn’t become an eyesore. "The Fort" is now home to new businesses, restaurants and breweries.

Mayor Steve Collier says the latest addition paves the way for the rest of their plans.

"We're hoping to add a boutique grocery store, fine dining, a hotel and a parking garage over here, so this is going to look a lot different," Collier said.

Some plans are already in the works: A new Marion County Public Library branch will be built there and officials say they just closed on another project for the construction of more apartments in the area.

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