WARSAW — An alley in downtown Warsaw may become a new hang-out for community members this summer.
During the Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission held on Wednesday, March 8, assistant city planner Justin Taylor asked the commission for a grant to go toward costs for an alley renovation project for an alley adjacent to the City Hall Plaza.
The proposed space will be called, “The Alley.” This space will be an alley renovation project connecting Buffalo Street with the City Hall Plaza. This project is not just about beautification of the area, it’s about improving the pedestrian infrastructure downtown. The project will transform the alley into a pedestrian corridor that will incorporate public art, greenspace, Wi-Fi access, bike parking and community space.
The city anticipates the renovation will, “Create a really vibrant space,” said Taylor.
Fundraising for the project will begin April 3 and last about a month. Taylor says their goal is to raise $50,000 through fundraising. If they are able to raise the total amount, the Indiana Housing and Community Development will match their funds dollar for dollar.
The plan is to have the alley in place this summer. Taylor mentioned this is a “pilot project” and hopes this will spur future alley renovations in the city.
The city plans to make this a useful space not only in the summer but in the winter as well. The space will function as an alley with vehicular accessibility in the winter months. Some other aspects of the renovation will stay year round.
Taylor added that other larger cities such as Indianapolis have spaces like this that they are known for and they help bring in individuals from other communities.
The commission unanimously approved a motion to give a $10,000 grant towards the renovation of the alley.
The old City Hall building may be turned into an art museum. Dave Taylor, with the Lakeland Art Association, told the commission that over the last year, the LAA has outgrown their 800 square foot space and is looking to expand.
Taylor stated that individuals in the community need a space like this, “They will feel that they live in a cultural community.”
He explained that the cost to renovate the building will cost a total of $200,000. Lakeland Art Association plans to partner with area schools, Cardinal Center and other places in the community.
The new building would include a room dedicated solely to Kosciusko County artists.
Taylor says he has spoken to the mayor about the project. Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer stated he would get behind the project if he could see that there are funds available for the museum. Taylor asked the commission for $20,000 a year for five years. The money would go toward operating costs. No decisions were made at the meeting and the issue will be revisited during the next commission.
- The commission declined giving funds to a wine tasting event held to highlight Lifeline Youth and Family Services. The event is being put on by the Pierceton Chamber of Commerce. The commission declined the request because they felt the event was directed toward individuals in the community and not towards drawing individuals into the community.
- Executive Director of the City-County Athletic Complex Karl Swihart gave an update on the progress of the CCAC. The season will start in about three weeks. Swihart stated they are, “Looking at another strong year.”
- The commission unanimously approved a grant to help the Lake City Skiers complete phase two of the bleacher project.