Historic preservation board to weigh in on plan to widen State Road 32 in Westfield

State historic preservation officials are set next week to review the city of Westfield’s plans to widen State Road 32, which would require demolishing or relocating four commercial buildings in its downtown’s historic district.

The six-person Indiana Historic Preservation Review Board made up of architects, archeologists, historic preservationists and other relevant professionals will hold an in-person meeting at 1:30 p.m., April 14, at 130 Penn St., in the Westfield City Hall Assembly Room.

The city has filed for a Certificate of Appropriateness to proceed with expanding State Road 32 in such a way that would lead to demolishing or relocating four of the Westfield Historic District’s 51 buildings.

The board could approve the Certificate of Appropriateness or vote to continue its review after issuing recommendations to the city for changes to the plan.

Chris Smith, a deputy director with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and chair of the board, said the certificate could be approved in a single meeting with a majority vote.

“If the board feels there’s something lacking, they can send it back to be discussed to see if there’s an ability to come to an agreement,” Smith said.

The city of Westfield and INDOT announced last December their preferred path for an estimated $15 million State Road 32 widening project, running from just east of the Poplar Street roundabout to just east of Timberbrook Run.

The Westfield Historic District is bounded by Penn Street on the north, Walnut Street on the east, Park Street on the south and Camilla Court on the west. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in January 2019, and that designation could be threatened by the loss of the four structures.

Although the project’s designers have avoided the need to disturb buildings on the north side of the street, the expansion from three to five lanes will encroach upon buildings at 101, 102 and 103 S. Union St., as well as 111 E. Main St.

It has yet to be decided whether those structures would be demolished or relocated.

The widening project aims to alleviate congestion caused by more than 19,000 vehicles traveling that road each day.

The design has been questioned by historic preservationists for years. The Westfield Preservation Alliance has floated an online petition to reconsider the project’s impact. Marla Ailor, a member of that group, has proposed it be re-envisioned as a boulevard with a reduced footprint.

Also on the board’s agenda are 11 applications for properties across the state to be added to the national historic register and several grants. Smith said the plan is to stagger audience attendance so that once the property application reviews are complete, that audience will filter out and those interested in Westfield’s petition may filter in.

Although the state mandate has lifted, the city is encouraging people to wear masks.

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6 thoughts on “Historic preservation board to weigh in on plan to widen State Road 32 in Westfield

    1. Main street through downtown Westfield is a choke point for State Road 32 which is a major east/west corridor between 69 and 65. And since like you say, there isn’t much of a downtown anyway, why wouldn’t they widen it to relieve the backups that are bad now and will only get worst? Darrell’s idea of a bypass is a good one. That would relieve the backups and enable them to create more of a small town downtown feel.

  1. Bad Idea!!!

    Talk about a way to take away and blight the developing Grand Junction Park!

    The ambience of the historic downtown and Grand Junction Park go hand in hand.

    The answer is to create a bypass around downtown Westfield for the through traffic and accentuate the district as a destination attraction village that would lend itself similar to Nashville IN.

  2. Stephen P. Exactly, what is called downtown is basically the intersection of Union St. and 32. The buildings on the north side, which are in much better shape, will be preserved. INDOT has already made plans to widen 32 from west of Noblesville through Westfield. Word is that if the Westfield portion doesn’t happen, INDOT may scrap the badly needed widening from two to four lanes into Noblesville. If they go ahead with it, Westfield and these people fighting this, won’t have much if any say so in what the final product through Westfield looks like.
    Although a good idea, there is no place to create a bypass around what some refer to as downtown. This could have been done years ago before all of the development occurred east of 31 occurred, but not today.

  3. If those buildings are of historic significance, then so am as I’m probably older than the structures. Tear them down and rebuild away from SR32. There is no downtown…..just a couple of older buildings with a highway running through it.

  4. When does it stop. The historic character is of vital importance. Recognizing the need to accommodate traffic, one suggest finding other alternatives that do not require demolition of building. When will widening stop. Should traffic further increase to a point that two additional lanes are needed, would additional buildings be demolished?

    Automatic widening is the easy way out. Finding solutions to accommodate traffic and preserve building takes careful review all options.

    And, precisely how much time would be saved by the widening project. And, what is the estimated cost savings attributable to the travel time save (as the surrogate measures of decreased congestion). And, for how long would the travel time savings be available — as traffic increases, any travel time savings would be decreased. Congestion reduction as expressed in monetized travel time savings must be contrasted with project cost.

    Westfield needs to reconsider its long term arterial plan. Roadways parallel to SR 32, including 161st, 169th/171st, 181st, 186th should be improved, widened, and extended to provide alternative east-west routes; new connections should also be provided to US 31 via service roadways or direct connections. This would accommodate local traffic circulation and reduce demand on SR 32.

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