GUEST COLUMN: City playing the game “Fill In The Blank”
We’ve invited Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell to share updates from the city in a monthly column.
As we enter the second half of 2018, Logansport is showing signs of regenerating economically in locations that have been dormant for some time.
One example is at the corner of Cliff Drive and South Cicott Street where a new restaurant is expected to open soon. It’s in a space formerly occupied by Jersey Phil’s, which has been closed for several years. Another example is the former White House restaurant on Sixth Street. It’s now home to Shively’s barbecue, a new local favorite that has rebranded the location with a fresh look and fare that isn’t available elsewhere downtown.
While that progress is more visible than others, look for progress soon at the former Hook’s store on North Third Street. It also has been empty for years, but is expected to be a convenience store. Plans call for a private investor to spend $1.7 million on the store, which has been dormant for the better part of two decades. The Logansport Redevelopment Commission approved Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funding for the entire block that includes the former Marsh Supermarket.
This is all part of a real-life version of the game “Fill in the Blank” in our city.
No part of this game was any more evident last month than a proposal from an Indianapolis area investor who wants to acquire the LMU generating plant property along the Eel, recycle the metals on the site, remediate any environmental problems and build housing along the riverfront. The Utility Service Board expects to be able to turn over that property in April, 2019.
City housing plans also took a step forward as the Housing Steering Committee met. A market study of the community is underway, and a tour of available sites for subdivisions, apartment and other housing projects was scheduled. Vacant properties in the city have been identified for redevelopment for housing at all income levels.
During the last month, our city council approved a financial commitment to retrofit all city streetlights with LED bulbs. That move will reduce the city’s light bill by 50 percent over the next three years. Installation by the Logansport Municipal Utilities will cut the cost to the city.
Meanwhile, Milt and Jean Cole, our city’s best known benefactors, have again made the city a better place. They committed to support the $3 million-plus renovation of the Cass County Family Y with a $1 million donation to kick off a capital fund drive. This magnificent donation and campaign is a serious commitment to the core of the city and utilizes the existing resources the Y has to expand opportunities not only for young people, but for those of all ages who want to live healthy, active lives.
Direct access to the west side has been cut off for a year via the Market Street Bridge, but as the Pharos-Tribune reports, there has been no evidence of a decline in business for the west side so far. That infrastructure development is proceeding as work begins on planning the stormwater improvements for downtown. Recent rains are a stark reminder of the city’s need to complete its stormwater system to preserve not only the State Theater downtown, but homes in places like Claude Street.
A proposal also has been received to renovate the Logansport/Cass County Memorial Center. Noblesville entrepreneur Rocky Shanehsaz hopes to add 15 jobs at the center as a wedding reception and special event venue.
Our unemployment rate in May was 3.4 percent as we head into the season when unemployment traditionally dips even further.
We want to wish all 4-H’ers well during the annual Cass County 4-H Fair and urge city residents to check out the great things our young people are doing thanks to dozens of very dedicated youth leaders and Junior Leaders. We’re fortunate to have such a strong 4-H program in our community. (Editor’s note: We’re late posting this, so we apologize!)
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