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Pendleton turns to past to revitalize its downtown

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Pendleton's downtown commercial district is looking to the past to build a better, more prosperous future.

In September, the town 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis was approved for the state's branch of Main Street, a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, aimed at helping communities revitalize their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

Pendleton's downtown commercial district covers roughly 12 blocks around the intersection of State Street and Pendleton Avenue, bordered by Water Street to the north, Elm Street to the south, Main Street to the west and Broadway to the east.

Many of those structures "are unique physical expressions of our culture, history and the people who built our town," board member and Ball State architectural archivist Carol Street told The Herald Bulletin. "They offer a unique heritage that could only take place here in Pendleton."

That's one reason the town was a natural fit for the Main Street program, said Lisa Floyd, board secretary and executive director of the South Madison Community Foundation.

"Our hope and expectation is that it will add another dimension of the hometown feeling we already have in Pendleton," Floyd said. "Our goal is to simply build on the attributes that are already in place and expand the opportunities for residents and visitors to experience our downtown opportunities."

That would likely include preservation projects for many of the downtown historic structures. Much of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"There is an emphasis on preserving those buildings as close to their original designs because they are well-designed, lovely buildings," Street said.

But a revitalized downtown could also "attract more business activity and perhaps more residential dwellers to available spaces in the downtown area," said Main Street Pendleton board president Jack Wilson.

Indiana Main Street communities saw more than $130 million invested last year, and netted 570 new jobs and 16 new construction projects.

The Main Street approach is four-pronged: Communities organize commercial district stake-holders, promote, design and restructure the downtown economy by strengthening existing businesses and recruiting new ones.

For most Indiana Main Street communities, that's also meant rehabilitating the facades of standing buildings — 241 in 2011 — with fresh paint, repaired molding and other upgrades.

Many projects, like new awnings, could be done for very little money, said Tim McClintick, the town's assistant planning director and Main Street Pendleton board treasurer.

But "we're not here to mandate anything," he said. This doesn't affect downtown residences and business owners can opt out, if they want.

The towns in the program are responsible for managing, planning and funding. McClintick said the first step will be applying for grants, which Wilson said could range from a few thousand dollars to as much as $250,000.

"We believe that Pendleton is well suited to take advantage of these resources to build on the ambiance we already enjoy," Wilson said. "And hopefully help the community benefit from increased business activity."

McClintick said there's no date yet on when the first project would start, but he'd like to see something by spring.

"It's a gradual process," he said. "It's evolving."

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  • PENDLETON..THE BEST OF MADISON COUNTY
    Five generations of my family called Pendleton their home. Pendletons' heartbeat always focusing on the homefront. Pendleton community with its vast resources draws many a diverse sector of the population. Pendleton has a moment in a lifetime opportunity to take advantage with the expert leadership of Ball State Architectual Facade students & archivist. Ball State Architectual Program came as a blessing to Noblesvilles Downtown Our Community, Chamber worked deligently to assist the Facade which completely revitilized the square. Pendletons' past will reinvent Pendleton's most exciting future.. GREAT NEWS!!!!
  • I love Pendleton
    My wife and I moved to Pendleton a couple years ago as renters. Since that time we have falling in love with the town and because of things like things we just bought a house here and plan on staying for a very long time.

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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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