Fort Ben reuse marches on

April 21, 2009
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Lawrence Village at the FortThe Fort Harrison Reuse Authority is preparing to break ground on a massive infrastructure project that will lay the groundwork for the master-planned Lawrence Village at the Fort, the final phase of a decade-long redevelopment of Fort Benjamin Harrison. The $9-million project calls for new streets, landscaping, utilities, lighting, three parks, signage, rain gardens, raised median planters and entrance columns. Over 350 trees will be planted along streets featuring bike lanes, sidewalks and on-street parking. The roughly 90-acre Lawrence Village at the Fort calls for a new downtown with shops, offices and public plazas mixed among condos, townhouses and apartments. The area to be developed is bounded by Post and Lee roads and 59th and 56th streets. The group had originally hoped to start the work in August 2007. A groundbreaking now is scheduled for May 5. An earlier post is here.
  • This area has some fantastic historic architecture.

    Will historic preservation be included in this?
  • Historic preservation has been included in the redevelopment of Ft. Ben from day one.....
  • I am very excited to see this get completed. Ft. Ben is a real assest to the area
  • I hope Lawrence doesn't screw-up this project. This is a tremendous opportunity, but the community leadership isn't very good. Speaking of architecture, I can't stand the large business building on the south side of 56th St. that was built across from where most of this development is to take place. When viewed from the back side (which I get to see daily on my commute), the building's faux pinnacles look like stage props in the way they were constructed. Nevermind the new 24-hour waste exchange station that will probably be located just down the street from the area. I've lived in Lawrence for seven years and the housing market is the only thing keeping me there. The school system is a mess, they don't take care of their parks, and the water rates are still sky-high. The community is a pig wearing lipstick.
  • Well, I disagree about the community leadership. You have a great leader in charge of the Lawrence Community Dev. Corp...I just feel that the residents of Lawrence aren't getting the most from their elected officials.
  • On a very sad note our dear friend Elements is closing temporarily until financing is secured. :(
  • I agree with Cory about leadership in Lawrence: the City's director of redevelopment is also really great guy who makes things happen.

    And after what seems like years of petty political BS, they really seem to have their act together up there. There hasn't been one bad story about the Lawrence council or mayor lately.
  • What's the hook? Why invest Lawrence? I want to this succeed as much as anybody (I REALLY DO!!) and maybe in twenty years it will. But again I ask why does a young family, young professional, retiree, want to move to Ft. Ben? Is it all a function of price? If so they better be dirt cheap when I can move myself/my family to Carmel and get better schools, lower taxes, lower crime, bigger better parks, proximity to employment corridors, better infastructure, on and on. I know the Carmel haters will blast the heck out of this but the metrics that citizens and developers alike use to choose where to invest speak for themselves!

    I sure will miss broad ripple when my fiance and I move. Hate to leave where I grew up but if you don't see why read the above again.
  • Sorry Cory, leadership in Lawrence is a train-wreck. As a Center Twp resident, I probably shouldn't throw stones, but there is a subtle difference. You see, Lawrence leadership isn't so much corrupt as it is incompetent. No one hated Gomer Pyle, but then again, they didn't put him in charge of anything either. Not trying to be a hater, but if you are going to stick up for them, I have to call you out.
  • I am discussing the Lawrence Commeunity Dev Corp, not the elected officials. The elected officials in Lawrence leave something to be desired, but have a lot of faith in my very good friend that leads the CDC.
  • This is our neighborhood and we're excited about it. Things had been at such a standstill for awhile we didn't know if they were still moving forward with it.
  • The CDC director is riding coat tails, just like she did at the state and city.
  • Wilson's right. I worked on several projects in Ft. Ben and the problem with the Reuse Authority goes back nearly a decade (if not more). A lot of schlock was built in the early 2000s and the developers, one in particular with close ties to our MDC, ignored the Smart Growth/New Urbanism principles that everyone else was exploring at the time.

    And just count the newer buildings that have exterior finishes that terminate on outside corners, just like low-end tract housing with brick on the front of the garage only. It's pretty sad to see the opportunities that were missed. The result is a mish-mash of 1980s-style development and design hampered by questionable construction quality.

    Yet I'm hopeful that the area can still be turned around with the new direction of the last few years. It's a beautiful area.

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