Downtown redevelopment has progressed steadily in 2017, a point highlighted by Wabash Marketplace Inc., (WMI) during its annual stakeholders meeting late last week.
Redevelopment is a point of pride for the Main Street group, WMI Project Manager Tyler Karst said.
“I wold say one major accomplishment is to showcase our downtown,” Karst said. “There are so many things that are great about it. It’s awesome to be able to put it on paper, put it on our website and chat with people about it.”
Milestones this year include the development of Rock City Lofts, a senior housing complex that is slated to open soon and is affiliated with the City’s Stellar Communities designation, as well as the sale of the Bradley Building, a large property at 5 W. Canal St., that had at one point been considered for demolition by neglect. Now, the building will be redeveloped by local investors.
Additionally, five new facades were completed in 2017 through the City’s facade program, another Stellar-affiliated project.
Further, the Eagles Theatre is currently undergoing an overhaul, and the City has welcomed new businesses like Wabash Dawg Park, Chapman’s Brewing Company, Tiny Threads Children’s Boutique and Marksken’s Guns, a year-end report from WMI noted.
“We love seeing the new businesses open up and seeing new people enter downtown who have never been here before, but heard about Wabash online or in a press release, or by word of mouth from friends and family,” Karst said.
Another downtown-oriented project completed this year is the Wabash Riverfront Plaza, a new park located on the riverwalk.
Karst advised that WMI’s monthly First Friday festivals continue to draw large crowds from within Wabash County and elsewhere too.
“People are seeing what’s happening in Wabash and they want to be a part of it,” Karst said. “They want to help that continual growth and development, to give however they can like serving on a committee or being a recognized business. We’re constantly looking for ways to partner up, both sides. How can we make the growth of this continue? Businesses are seeing that and they want to be on board.”
The emphasis on downtown redevelopment stems from the theory that a prosperous downtown helps everyone involved, Karst said, noting that continuing development is a top priority for the Main Street group in 2018.
“We need to continue what all of these individuals and members, and merchants and donors pushed over the last eight years,” he said.