The Heart of Downtown: Sixth and Main Street Revitalization Project Begins

By Amy Schweitzer, Administrator, Department of Building, Planning & Development

You may have seen mentions on the city’s social media pages or via our new app about construction on Sixth and Main streets. Most recently, Auburn Electric performed some work to get the area ready for burying existing overhead utilities. As the weather improves, construction on those streets will be a common occurrence for a while. And we’re excited about that—or, more specifically, the end result of the construction!

The vision for that “end result” has actually been years in the making. Enhancing Sixth and Main streets is an important part of Auburn’s 2011 Downtown Revitalization Plan. There has been a lot of private investment in our downtown area in recent years, and it’s thriving! We believe the work we’re beginning to do—known as the Sixth and Main Street Revitalization Project—will provide further support and sustainability for our city and downtown.

As part of the project—which is funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Rural Affairs—the area will receive:

  • New sidewalks and curbs
  • New pavement and street surfacing
  • Landscaping and furnishings
  • Historic decorative lighting
  • Storm sewer improvements
  • Dumpster enclosures

Plus, thanks to Auburn Electric, many of the overhead utilities will be re-located to the underground duct bank—adding even more appeal to the area.

Our biggest advocates
Downtown business owners like Lori Berndt from The Olive Twist are among the biggest supporters for the Sixth and Main Street Revitalization Project. Lori believes the project will give downtown—the heart of our city—even more character. “The enhancements will do a lot for the area, making it a destination for visitors—and home to more businesses,” she said. “People will want to come and stay for a while—and then return­­­ again.”

Additionally, Lori is excited about the more modern and uniform look of downtown. She believes all of the efforts will make it more pedestrian-friendly and provide space for outside dining and attract even more street festivals or events.

Expect a few inconveniences
The process of making all this happen is just that—a process. And it impacts businesses and sometimes traffic or parking. Unfortunately, there’s no way around that. However, we are committed to communicating regularly with both you and the downtown businesses. Sometimes we’ll have more warning than others, so please be patient with us as we make you aware of construction updates and any impact on roads and parking.

We realize construction can be an inconvenience, but our crews are committed to minimizing that as best as they can. We believe that a revitalized downtown will be well worth these inconveniences. In the meantime, remember that our downtown businesses are still open. Support them—and shop local!