Candidates: Keep downtown vibrant

GREENFIELD — Making the city’s downtown revitalization plan a reality is a top priority for those hoping to lead the city.

Both candidates for the Republican mayoral nomination said building a vibrant downtown is key to Greenfield’s success. If elected, each vows to continue efforts to spruce up Greenfield’s core.

It’s an area where Mayor Chuck Fewell, who is hoping to be elected for a second term, and challenger Judy Swift find much common ground.

Fewell helped create the Greenfield Coalition, a group of community stakeholders working to implement a downtown revitalization plan and update the city’s comprehensive plan.

Councilwoman Swift works with that group and was part of the steering committee that originally created the revitalization plan.

The plan aims to bring pedestrian-friendly promenades, enhanced building facades, retail, restaurants and art to downtown Greenfield.

It’s important it also aims to improve Greenfield’s quality of life, while building on its heritage, Fewell and Swift say.

Greenfield planning director Joanie Fitzwater said it’s imperative the plan keeps moving forward.

“For Greenfield, our historic downtown is our most important place, so revitalizing it and making sure we preserve our heritage and build on it for our future is so important,” she said.

Swift and Fewell agree.

Swift said, if elected, she’ll support the plan’s efforts and work with the private and public sector to find the funding needed to make the plans a reality.

The downtown area and beautification efforts are important to her.

“It is so vital,” she said. “Other cities are now trying to build downtowns, and we already have one. We need to take care of it, build on it, make it special because it is our core.”

Keeping Greenfield vibrant is important to Fewell, too.

Because of its proximity to Indianapolis, Greenfield will continue to grow. It’s important that Greenfield maintain its own identity through that growth, Fewell said.

“It’s very important we help Greenfield stay Greenfield,” he said. “We do not want to be east side Marion County or Hamilton County; … we want to be Greenfield.”

The city and other groups working to spruce up downtown need to all work together, an effort Fewell said he’s helping lead.

If elected for a second term, he’ll continue to guide that collaboration.

Another effort that will revitalize that area of the city is to plan events that will draw young people and families to it. Fewell said he’s already working to organize events for the summer that might include food trucks or tents and entertainment in the evening hours.

Those types of efforts, the candidates agree, will give residents a reason to come downtown.

Pursuing grants to help give buildings a facelift, making it an area residents can be active, preserving the city’s history, bringing restaurants and retail to and establishing art downtown will make the area vibrant and full of life.

All of those efforts, Fitzwater said, are positive. And downtown revitalization is something everyone in the community should support.

The city already has lost eight buildings in the downtown area, and losing any more would be a shame, she said. If everyone works collectively, downtown will become a hot spot again, she said.

“It is one area that we as a community can easily imagine being a successful collaboration between varied personalities because everyone can get behind preserving our historic heritage and crafting a better future,” Fitzwater said. “It’s the heart and soul of our community.”

Where they stand

Learn more about the candidates’ views on issues facing the city on AX.

Looking forward

Haven’t seen the downtown revitalization plan? It’s accessible online at greenfieldin.org/government/planning-and-building/downtown-revitalization-plan.

Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.