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Hamilton County / Westfield / Regional News

Westfield's 'Grand' plans extend downtown, too

May 28, 2013

Westfield Mayor Andy Cook’s grand plans aren’t limited to the 400-acre sports campus expected to open in the Hamilton County community next year—or the $225 million commercial development slated for across the street. He also is working on a $20 million plan to reshape the city’s downtown.

More than five years in the making, the Grand Junction initiative aims to reinvent the area near Union Street and State Road 32, creating a two-square-block public plaza officials hope will become a hub of activity.

“The boring stuff is under way,” Cook said of the behind-the-scenes work necessary to develop the site where a floodway, two creeks and five recreational trails will come together. The city has spent about $4 million so far, he said, and should be ready to solicit bids early next year.

Property acquisition has begun, and an old muffler shop was torn down to make way for Grand Junction Park & Plaza, which officials hope will spur private development.

Cook isn’t opposed to using public funds to attract investments, but he prefers to spend money on city-owned amenities rather than incentives that benefit private businesses.

He said the tactic already is paying off:  Carmel-based developer J.C. Hart Co. is spending $21 million to build Union Street Flats at Grand Junction, a 238-unit apartment community nearby.

“We’re already seeing a good return on our investment without offering any [tax] abatements,” the mayor said. “I hope we can continue to do that.”

What’s your take on the Grand Junction plans? If Westfield builds a town plaza, will developers come?

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