Proposals will be presented at public meeting

HOPE — The latest refinements to a developing plan intended to revitalize the Hope Town Square and surrounding businesses will be presented to the public Thursday.

Four weeks after more than 40 residents expressed their impressions and concerns regarding proposed options, a second public workshop will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Fellowship Hall at Hope Moravian Church, 202 Main St.

Based largely on what was expressed during the March 30 meeting, changes and refinements have been made, said Susan Thayer Fye, executive director of Main Street of Hope, which is sponsoring the workshops.

As a whole, the plan is intended to establish a road map to create a market-viable and sustainable downtown, as well as make Hope a unique destination within the tri-county region, Thayer Fye said.

Some proposals regarding State Road 9, which is called Main Street in Hope, were greeted with consensus at the last meeting. They include:

Placing a four-way stop sign on Main Street at Jackson Street, rather than a block south at the Washington Street intersection.

Installing curb extensions for safety considerations on the north side of Jackson Street in front of Shaton’s retail store.

Putting up decorative street lights, rather than trees, on strategically placed medians in the west side parking area next to the town square.

Plans include adding another bay to the town square shelter house for restrooms and a catering kitchen, along with roof replacements.

New walkways are proposed that would link the shelter house to a renovated bandstand and the playground, along with tiered concrete or stone block terrace seating at both the bandstand and the playground.

During the March 30 meeting, most in attendance seemed to support an elegant, late 19th Century Victorian-style ambiance for the businesses surrounding the square. Other proposals for the business district include free-standing awnings, outdoor seating with umbrella tables, solid hardwood planters, benches and historic signage.

Proposed decorative elements to reflect Hope’s Moravian heritage include candle lamps in all upper-floor windows, as well as star-shaped lights hung under outdoor fixtures.

Following Thursday’s meeting, additional refinements will be made before the plan is taken to the Hope Town Council in May, Fye said. If the council gives its blessing, the final design will be sent to the Indiana Main Street program, she said.

As a member of the Indiana Main Street program, the town is in a position to receive up to $500,000 in grants for downtown improvements, Thayer Fye said. However, the organization is also working on other potential funding sources are being sought and development strategies.

The Indianapolis-based Storrow | Kinsella Associates _ a planning, urban design and landscape architectural studio _ has been commissioned as a consultant, as well as Columbus architect Louis Joyner.

They have been working with Main Street of Hope committee members and focus groups since early January to develop recommendations and strategies.

If you go

Main Street of Hope will hold a second public workshop Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Hope Moravian Church, 202 Main Street. Members of the public are encouraged to provide their input on recommendations and priorities for the Downtown Revitalization Plan prior to study completion.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.