BEDFORD — During Tuesday’s city council meeting in Bedford, Marla Jones, the city’s director of business and community development, updated elected officials on the Stellar Communities projects under way in Bedford.
She said she received word from the historic review board that the moving of the Milwaukee Depot did not affect its historic value adversely, and she would now be able to apply for National Historic Register status.
She said the building is still not ready for public rental at this point, but some area not-for-profits and business partners have used the facility on a donation basis.
Jones said the Streetscape project basically was shut down for the winter, but work should resume again soon. Workers will complete the I Street section before moving to the southwest section of the square to begin work on the 16th Street section. When half of that work is complete, workers will then go to the northeast corner of the square to begin on 15th Street. By progressing this way, entire blocks will not be torn up at one time. She said construction may cause temporary lane closures, but the streets should not be completely blocked.
She said work is progressing on the L Street Trail Connector project. Jones said there are paint marks everywhere along the connector as workers from Milestone are working to locate all underground utilities. She said she is not sure where actual construction will begin on the project.
StoneGate Arts & Education
Jones said she is hoping that fall classes at StoneGate Arts & Education Center will begin at the new location at 15th and I streets in the city’s downtown. She said the roof has been installed, and the second and third story floors have been poured. The building was wrapped in plastic to allow work to continue through the cold weather. The lower floor will be poured soon.
Mayor Shawna Girgis said the project is running a little behind because of some foundation issues, but with work continuing through the winter, it is hoped to have the work back on schedule by the spring.
Council member Mark Scherschel, who also serves on the redevelopment commission, asked about the classes that will be offered.
Jones said she hopes that there will be more classes offered and more colleges represented once the building is finished. She said other colleges and universities have expressed an interest in using the facility, but the details can’t be completely worked out until the building is finished or nearly finished.
Jones said most of the college classes will be offered in the evening, so the building might be used for workforce development and other purposes during the day.
The deadline for final approval of the downtown facade project was extended until noon Wednesday, to allow a couple of more projects to be possibly included. Jones said 15 building owners had shown interest in participating initially, but only 11 had turned in finished proposals. By extending the deadline a couple of days, it was hoped that two more would get their finished proposals turned in, for a total of 13 projects. This will allow for a little more money for each project, which will be on an 80/20 basis, with the building owner supplying the 20 percent.
The project contract will be on the board of works agenda on Friday. Once the contract is let, work on the projects can begin.
Jones said, as part of the state bicentennial in 2016, it was hoped that some sort of feature, a statue or fountain be included on the south side of the courthouse, but that didn’t materialize. She said that project is being reborn as part of the county bicentennial this year, with hope of a statue being erected. Plans on this are progressing.
Permanent furnishings for the commons, such as a canopy over the stage door, seating, picnic tables and trash receptacles are the focus at this time. The city is working on obtaining items that will match or complement the fixtures associated with the downtown streetscape project.
This work is still progressing with downtown gateways to be placed on 16th Street, between L and K streets, for eastbound traffic entering the downtown. Similar gateways will be placed on 16th Street, near its intersection with G Street for those traveling west. The gateways will be placed on city right-of-ways.
Girgis said this was one of the most fun projects, getting to work with Indiana University students and seeing their ideas for the project.
Jones said there is still $9,000 for another mural or art project in the downtown area. She said there are a couple of ideas for placement of the murals/art projects. There is nothing set in stone at this point.