PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The town of Plainfield is preparing for a large-scale downtown redevelopment project set to begin as early as next year.
Deputy Town Manager Tony Perona said the town council will vote on a concept proposal Monday in its normal meeting, and the implementation of Phase 1 of the plan could begin as early as January.
The revitalized downtown concept spans almost an entire square mile around the cross of Center Street and Main Street (U.S. 40) in Plainfield. Included in the upgrades are luxury apartments, cottage homes, green spaces, performing arts centers, shopping centers, pedestrian walkways, wider roads and neighborhood revitalization.
This project makes the second large-scale downtown revitalization project in Hendricks County following Brownsburg earlier this year.
“Let’s face it. It’s going to be transformative for the downtown area. And that’s very exciting,” said Perona, standing inside the Plainfield Municipal Building, which he says is simply too small for the growing community.
He described four phases to the overhaul, which he says will take many years and many hands to accomplish.
Phase 1 “is the one that the town is going to be most involved in the development of,” Perona said. “After that, the future phases we really want to attract private development.”
Perona said the agenda items for Phase 1 are a direct result of the dozen or so community feedback forums this year.
“Redevelopment and reuse of Pruitt Theater, a green space that connects to White Lick Creek, we’d like to talk about a performing arts center and an expansion of town hall,” he said.
“A lot of our neighbors have been around for 20 to 25 years,” long-time Plainfield resident Karen Means said. “There’s been a lot of development, but it still has that friendly small-town feel.”
Means said she loves Plainfield and has no plans to leave the area. However, she explained some of her worries with the new downtown proposal. She has family members who live in the Mill Run apartments and homes on North Mill Street. The rent is affordable for them and for others who work in one of Plainfield’s factories making from $11-15 an hour. According to current renderings of the redevelopment, those will be removed to make way for luxury apartments.
“If you have someone making $900 or $1000 a month in income, they’re not able to live in an apartment that costs $750 dollars a month,” Means said. “Where do you put 60 people that are low-income when you’re building all these nice shops and nice apartments for people to live in?”
“We want people to realize that we’re not going to use imminent domain to throw people out. That’s not the point,” Perona said. “We understand that many of them have lived here for a long, long time and they’re invested in that and we recognize that and so we want to work with people.”
Perona explained the town council’s priority is making downtown a viable place to live for several income levels and noted that the changes in housing projects don’t come with Phase 1.
A PDF of the phases of Plainfield’s downtown redevelopment project includes more information on what’s to come.
As for funding, Perona said the town does not have a current funding plan as they are only working with a conceptual design at the moment. He said when the councilors have discussed funding, they are motivated to use TIF funds as opposed to property taxes for these types of developments.