By Guest Blogger Bill Spohn, Administrator, Building, Planning and Development
For the past year and a half, the City of Auburn has been partnering with the Downtown Auburn Business Association and the Auburn Downtown Advisory Committee to champion downtown revitalization efforts. We launched our partnership with an extensive feasibility study to identify areas for redevelopment and enhancement. Late last year, the City Council passed a resolution accepting this plan. So now, many are wondering what’s next?
The next necessary step is for the City to adopt the downtown revitalization plan as part of its comprehensive, long-term master plan. We’ll bring the plan before the Plan Commission at the March 13 meeting. If adopted, then we’ll begin prioritizing some short-term actions, while, at the same time, planning for more extensive, long-term revitalization efforts. Here’s just a taste of some of what we’ll focus on in the coming year:
- Organizational: Create a Community Reinvestment Limited Liability Corporation to help raise private funds to revitalize the historic downtown buildings and determine how to operate and use collective funds toward downtown revitalization.
- Promotional: Build upon Auburn’s reputation as “Home of the Classics” by broadening our focus to include all of the local “treasures” as “classics,” ultimately improving tourism in the Northern Indiana Region.
- Design: Establish design and development guidelines to create a distinct character for an urban area.
- Economic restructuring: Identify opportunities for revitalization (façade improvements, catalytic developments etc.,) to build confidence in existing and potential property/business owners.
While the steps above involve a lot of process before all of us get to see and enjoy the result of our efforts, they are necessary ones to ensure we invest in programs and plans and that strengthen the core of our city and are sustainable for years to come.
That said, there have been some side efforts already to revitalize retail areas downtown. If you’ve not been downtown lately, be sure to stop by Little Sprouts, Mad Anthony Tap Room, Big Red Sports, Auburn Alterations and Sixth Street Emporium —all five took advantage of Main Street grants and have undergone façade upgrades of some kind, including new awnings, window replacements and new or repaired signage. We thank these local businesses for helping us invest in the future of Auburn!
Keep visiting this blog and the Downtown Revitalization section of our website to follow our progress and new developments.