The Herald Bulletin

November 10, 2013

Pendleton looking to revitalize downtown

By Zach Osowski
The Herald Bulletin

---- — PENDLETON — Changes could be coming to downtown Pendleton as the Redevelopment Commission eyes a revitalization grant.

Jack Wilson, president of the Fall Creek Parks Department, said they are working on a grant to formulate a plan on a downtown revitalization project.

Wilson claims there is a lot of federal grant money available for “Main Street” projects. The money is specifically geared toward small towns that want to pump life back into their downtown core.

“This is specific to encourage historic preservation,” Wilson said. “The program was started in the ’70s when downtown cores started dying.”

He said there is a belief among members of the Redevelopment Commission that a strong core downtown area will benefit the entire Pendleton community.

Pendleton Town Council President Don Henderson said what the council approved on Nov. 7 was to move forward with creating a plan. Once the town knows what it will do with the Main Street grant, it can apply for a grant.

“At this point, it is just a study that will tell us what we need,” Henderson said.

Just this month, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which hands out the grants, awarded three $250,000 grants to towns in Indiana. Wilson said they can do a lot with that kind of money.

If they do receive money, Wilson said they will use it to support building facade restoration as well as sprucing up other downtown areas.

Wilson said the town could offer 50-50 matches on building restoration with a grant for $250,000. This would create incentives for business owners to try and remodel the outside of their buildings.

Since Pendleton is one of the few towns in the state with a historic designation, Wilson said it made sense to try and revitalize the downtown portion.

“Historic preservation is a thread that runs through the tenants of Main Street,” he said. “It was natural for the town to try and do this.”

The proposal for the plan originated with the Redevelopment Commission before receiving approval from the Planning Ccommission and, most recently, the Town Council. Wilson said the Redevelopment Commission will next hold a public meeting so the town residents can hear about the grant proposal. He did not say when the meeting would be held.

After the meeting, the town can apply for the grant for its revitalization plan. Once a plan is in place, the next step will be to apply for a federal Main Street grant.

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB or call 640-4847.