Planners have set a tentative date of August for construction work to begin on East Washington Street, the first phase of the city’s downtown redevelopment project.
Members of the Shelbyville Common Council’s Downtown Projects Committee met Monday to discuss the timeline and related matters.
City Councilwoman Joanne Bowen (D-1st Ward), who chairs the downtown committee, asked Mayor Tom DeBaun for an update.
“We ended up choosing Butler Fairman Seufert and Ratio (Architects),” he said, after sending out requests for proposals to do the work.
Josh Smith of BFS, a civil engineering firm in Indianapolis, said survey work for the East Washington Street project had just been finished earlier on Monday.
The project should be ready to bid by early June, he said.
Shelbyville City Engineer Matt House said work on East Washington Street would extend from the Public Square, past the post office to either Noble Street or to the railroad tracks just beyond Noble.
“We’d like to do streetscape improvements,” he said, including new lighting and changing to angled parking on that section of East Washington St.
The extra parking spaces created by the change would help make up for the spaces lost when parking in the center of the Public Square is eliminated in a future phase of the downtown redevelopment.
Bowen, who with her husband, Gary, owns Sharp Trophies by Mack at 49 E. Washington St., suggested removing a low wall near her business and possibly adding a mural.
DeBaun said the city will host public meetings with business owners on E. Washington St. and others to discuss their concerns.
“We’re looking for input but we’re not redesigning the project,” he said.
Besides eliminating the central parking area in the Public Square, the downtown renovation plan includes rerouteing North Harrison Street so that all vehicle traffic runs on the east side of the Square.
That would allow for the creation of a “Civic Plaza” space on the west side of the Public Square which is closest to Shelbyville City Hall on West Washington Street.
DeBaun and other city leaders believe the changes will attract new residents and businesses to grow the community.