First impressions mean everything, and for too long the impression a first-time visitor received on his way into Anderson wasn’t a good one. Abandoned businesses, deserted parking lots, neglected landscaping … that’s how many people saw our city for the first time.
But those views are slowly changing, one gateway at a time. Exit 226 is currently undergoing a facelift with the demolition of two vacant hotels, new businesses and the planned Ivy Tech development.
The city’s west side is the next to get a makeover, through a proposed Gateway project.
The project, which the city hopes will bring economic stability to the region, encompasses the area along Nichol Avenue, west of Raible Avenue. It would also include the much-needed redevelopment of the former Edgewood Plaza, which once thrived with businesses.
Eighty percent of the funding, about $295,000, will come from the federal government. The city will chip in $150,000 through the tax increment financing district.
Trees, decorative lighting and new curbs and gutters are among the planned improvements. Work on those items should be completed by spring 2015. The city is also hoping to remove the parking lot east of Pizza Hut and plant wildflowers. A temporary street art project is slated to open June 1.
A recent public meeting about the Gateway project left residents optimistic. They have a vision of what the area could be, with bicycle trails, benches and even a skating area.
The city should do everything in its power to not disappoint them.
Residents have heard a lot about improvements to their part of the city in recent years but have yet to see much action. The city should expedite the process, seeking new attractions and businesses to rejuvenate the area.
City officials also need to get the residents involved. Their input and buy-in are essential to making this project work. Together, they can create a gateway the entire city can be proud of and visitors won’t forget.
In summary The city of Anderson should do everything in its power to not disappoint residents over renovations on the west side.