GREENFIELD — Residents of Greenfield are likely aware of the new construction along the Interstate 70 exit but city officials are hoping drivers take notice too, and decide to stop and see what the city has to offer.
Six giant poles have been erected along the exit as welcome signals to drivers on I-70 as the city attempts to encourage more people to take the exit. The $1.5 million project just wrapped up this past Wednesday and the towers lit up for the first time on Monday. Rather than go with a large sign, city officials, with input from the public, went with the pole design that features light strips in the middle of each tower. The lights can be programmed to showcase a wide variety of colors.
Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell said the hope is the bright and playful colors, which can be themed around events or holidays, will encourage drivers to stop and visit Greenfield.
“We want to spark interest in Greenfield,” Fewell said. “We’ve seen vibrant growth here but we wanted a way to entice people in.”
The project was paid for out of the city’s electric utility budget and wasn’t funded by tax dollars.
Just south of the exit on New Road, another construction project will be wrapping up soon with the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of New Road and Barrett Drive near Walmart and Home Depot. Road crews have already added a median and resurfaced the road in an attempt to make that busy stretch of road safer.
“That was one of our most dangerous areas,” Fewell said. “Just because of all the traffic and all the people trying to pull out of the businesses there.”
The median has eliminated left-hand turns and city officials say the new traffic signal will alleviate safety concerns. City engineer Jason Cook cautioned there could be some congestion early on before the new signal syncs up with the light at State Road 9 and New Road.
“They’ll need a couple weeks to talk to each other,” Cook said. “But once they get in sync, traffic should move pretty smoothly.”
Those two projects are just two of several improvements the city is working on now and down the road as part of a campaign officials are calling “investing in our future.”
From roadwork to pool upgrades to capital improvements, the city has a lot on the docket in an attempt to continue to grow the city and try to attract more people to live and work in the city.
The splash pad at Riley Park just recently opened up to good attendance and after the pool closes this fall, it will undergo some serious renovations as well. Cook said slides and an ADA accessible ramp will be added as part of a long-overdue face lift for the pool.
The Riley Literary trail, façade restoration of downtown buildings and work on Franklin Street are all on the city’s wish list. While Fewell said they will all get done eventually, he said the city’s success in the upcoming Stellar Communities grant program could help fast-track a lot of them. Greenfield has partnered with Fortville to apply for the program and was recently announced as one of six finalists in the state. Being designated as a Stellar Community would open up a lot of revenue streams the city could use for a wide variety of projects. The city will find out in November if their bid is successful.
Greenfield residents can expect to see a flyer from the city in the coming weeks detailing the investing in our future agenda and letting residents know what projects could be coming their way soon.