SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — A community on the south side of Indianapolis has some big plans for the future.
Leaders in the city of Southport say they’re focused on growth and development, specifically in the downtown area.
“Southport is growing,” said Southport Mayor Russell McClure. “We can’t grow geographically, but we can grow in quantity and quality of businesses moving into the city.”
“We had a lot of businesses move out of the city over the past 20, 25, 35 years. We’ve been working hard in the past four to five years to reverse that trend,” McClure added.
“What we’re doing right now really focuses on the redevelopment of the city, particularly in the downtown area, the commercial district of Southport,” said McClure. “A lot of our work has been bringing in an apartment complex, which has also influenced people to buy and renovate current and unused buildings in Southport.”
McClure says the plans have been years in the making, with countless people working hard to make it happen.
He says there is a three-story, 94 unit senior apartment complex planned for the lot where an old lumber company used to sit. McClure says the apartments will be mainly for senior living, and there will be retail space below the apartment units.
Across the street, an old post office has sat vacant for more than a decade. McClure says that was just sold, and will become a tux and bridal shop.
“That building has been empty for years, and we kept getting the same questions: ‘What’s going to happen to it, who owns it, why can’t we redevelop this building?’ And it took awhile to get a buyer that had the vision to use it, and the funding to buy the building. When that finally happened, it was just a huge step for the city of Southport, because now we have another building that’s going to be used, and is going to bring in more people, more employees, who will be inside of Southport, which helps for other development within the city for restaurants and other businesses we want to attact,” said McClure.
There’s also a plan to create a trail behind the buildings along Southport Road, leading from the Walgreens near Madison Avenue, to the playground near the city offices. McClure says they’d like to make the city more walkable, and they’d also like to revitalize Southport Road with better lighting, to make the area a destination.
McClure says they’re hoping to attract unique restaurants and shops.
The old Gerdt furniture store that closed a couple years ago has also been sold. Part of that building will soon be home to Renaissance Electronic Services, a local technology company that sells products and services to the dental industry.
The old concrete company behind the old Gerdt building will become parking for the office building.
“It’s important for us to remain on the south side of Indianapolis,” said Renaissance Electronic Services Chief Technology Officer Jon Raimondi.
Raimondi grew up in Southport. He says they’ll be moving in the first employees to work at the building in the beginning of April.
“The former Gerdt building in Southport gave us a unique place to accommodate our current work force, as well as the 150 jobs we plan to add over the next three years,” said Raimondi.
RES has already invested in the city as well. Last year, the company donated $50,000 to the city to help make improvements to the Southport park to accommodate children with disabilities.
Officials have invited the public to their Redevelopment Commission meeting Monday night at 7 p.m. They’ll fill in the public on all these current and planned projects.
The RDC meeting takes place in the Southport Community Room, at 6901 Derbyshire Road in Southport.