Downtown businesses eager for Grand Junction Plaza to get finished

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – On the heels of finishing one major redevelopment project, a Hamilton County community is poised to start another.

The city of Westfield is still putting the finishing touches on Grand Park, a huge sports complex near state roads 31 and 32.

On Tuesday, it announced Land Collective will design the next big project: Grand Junction Plaza. It’s a revitalization of the city’s downtown at Union and Jersey streets leaders hope will draw people in from surrounding towns.

Land Collective designed state parks and stadiums around the country. One if it’s latest projects is in Indianapolis: Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

Downtown Westfield doesn’t look anywhere near like the images the city leaders created for the project, but the family friendly environment is what they have dreamed up. And businesses next door hope it comes true.

If summer could be defined in a dish, a sundae at Jan’s Village Pizza downtown would take the cake.

“That’s where most of it picks up, we do a lot of ice cream,” said general manager Gary Brush.

But the trick for Brush isn’t drizzling the right amount of chocolate on top, it’s getting customers downtown to enjoy it.

“It all has to do with the draw to get people down like I said before. And there’s not a lot down here,” he said.

And by the looks of it he’s right. But the large green space, empty parking lot, and murky creek just west of his restaurant won’t be there for long.

“This area will be developed,” said council president Jim Ake. “That will be developed into a festival street,” he said, referencing Jersey Street.

His vision is one we’ve seen for about seven years when community leaders dreamt up the Grand Junction Plaza Project.

It includes an amphitheater blasting music, a nature themed play area, and a winter wonderland complete with an ice rink.

“We want to create a special place,” he said.

The finished product is years away.

Besides waiting on a final design, Ake said grant and private funding need to be gathered.

But the project is on the right path.

“The first step was putting in the trails and they are being paved,” said Ake. “We’ve extended our trail system to the east and west, north and south so everybody can get down here,”

One new restaurant is so pumped it was named “Grand Junction Brewing Co.” in honor of its soon-to-be neighbor.

But for Brush, the real cherry on top would be all the extra dough from the potential hungry customers.

“We’re really anticipating that because I think it will benefit us,” he said.

Councilman Ake didn’t have a time table or cost estimate for the project. He said he won’t know that until Land Collective completes the design.

But he did say it would be built in phases. The trails are underway, followed by creating the boundaries for the entire park.

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