Clintonville reviews plan
By Bert Lehman
Clintonville is looking for ways to revitalize its downtown.
At its May 8 meeting, the Clintonville City Council was presented with information about a downtown revitalization plan. The plan was developed by SEH based on the existing conditions of the area as well as results from a market study.
The plan addressed a vision and goals for the area, as well as a strategy to achieve those goals.
“Like most good plans, there is a lot of stuff in there, but at the end of the day it’s kind of where we’re at now, what’s happening downtown, and where we want to be in the future and how do we get there,” said Andrew Dane, community development specialist for SEH.
The study began with physical assessments of the downtown area as well as the surrounding area.
The market study found that the Clintonville downtown area is capturing only about 4 percent of the available spending from Clintonville, Marion, Bear Creek and Tigerton, which is the city’s trade area.
“We didn’t see anything really popping out at us in terms of specific types of retail that aren’t being met that jumped out as big opportunities,” Dane said.
Through the public involvement process of the study, Dane said key issues and opportunities were determined to be historic buildings, the Pigeon River, W.A. Olen Park, housing, arts culture and events, and providing additional programing for youth.
Dane said the vision developed in the study could be summed up as, “Downtown Clintonville is a great place to shop, eat, and explore.”
The goals developed in the study included: supporting downtown businesses; providing a clean, safe downtown; enhancing public infrastructure; fitting a stronger identity; expanding housing; positioning downtown Clintonville as a destination within the trade area; and developing the organizational framework for supporting the plan.
Dane also mentioned three “big picture” ideas from the downtown revitalization plan. One of those ideas is a river walk.
“I think the river walk concept was one that got a lot of interest and enthusiasm when we presented it,” Dane said. “It still needs some refinement but I think you have this amazing asset, this river in the heart of downtown.”
He also mentioned multi-housing complexes.
“As we look at the potential of either redeveloping or adaptively reusing the old Merc building,” Dane said.
He added that the proximity of the building to the Pigeon River makes it more desirable as a site for a mixed-use or residential use housing.
The third big idea is a pocket neighborhood concept, Dane said.
The plan also included 23 strategies for implementation.
“I think one of the key ones is forming a revitalization team,” Dane said.
After the presentation, Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland told the council that research has already started regarding potential funding sources for items in the plan.
Clintonville Mayor Richard Beggs said not all the ideas in the plan will be feasible but some might be.