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20170629 Vicki Gardner Century 21

home : hope-area news : general July 24, 2017

5/16/2017 4:17:00 AM
Final plans taking shape for downtown Hope plan
Proposed design for the west side of the Town Square. Images courtesy of Storrow-Kinsella.
Proposed design for the west side of the Town Square. Images courtesy of Storrow-Kinsella.
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Presentation slide courtesy of Storrow-Kinsella
Although the formal public comment period for the downtown Hope revitalization plan has ended, Susan Thayer-Fye, director of Main Street of Hope, said you can still contact her with concerns or questions. Her number is 812-343-3798
The public's thoughts are being incorporated into a downtown Hope revitalization plan that will be presented to the Town Council for approval.

That is after two public meetings and community interviews leading to the final proposal.

The town, through the Hope Main Street organization, have been working with consultants Storrow-Kinsella and Louis Joyner Architects to develop a revitalization plan that would be submitted along with applications for grant funding for the projects contained in the plan.

The deadline for the final plan is at the end of May.

Susan Thayer-Fye, director of the Hope Main Street group said last month, that based on the public's reception, some ideas have dropped out of the proposed plan altogether while other have been refined and new ideas added.

The major component altered in the plan is the idea of stopping traffic on State Road 9/Main Street as it enters the Town Square. Thayer-Fye said the public pointed out flaws in the proposal.

"For now, the stoplights and stop signs are off the table, but maybe not permanently," she said.

Where the original proposals called for a tree-lined median to be installed between the parking on the west side of the square and State Road 9, the revised plan would suggest a grass median, Thayer-Fye said. The plan also would alter some parking around the square, turning some single-angled parking into double-angled parking and some angled parking spaces to parallel parking.

"Because of that, some people were concerned about losing parking for the businesses, especially on the north side of the square, but it actually adds three to five parking spaces, with the doubling up in the center," Thayer-Fye said.

Some of the plan's proposals have been very well received, such as incorporating a revised Moravian star design throughout the downtown, such as lighted stars dangling under the awnings around the square. Or having simulated candles in windows around the square, both in honor of the town's Moravian heritage.

"If we do major changes to the shelterhouse, that may be a good place to put some Moravian stars, or Hope stars, there," Thayer-Fye said.

One of the most popular parts of the plan would be to install signage or markers on the historic buildings around the square, denoting their date of construction and the history of the building.

"Hope is rich in heritage, and in history," Thayer-Fye said. "That is what we are known for. We are like nobody else. So you need to embrace that and nobody knows that better than I."

That could also be combined with a walking tour through a phone app.

Also a plan to install more awnings around the square, has generated a lot of support, Thayer-Fye said.

The Town Council meets tonight but is not scheduled to take any action on the revitalization plan. Thayer-Fye said the town can wait until June to take formal action on the finalized plan.

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