GREENFIELD — A transformation is coming to downtown Greenfield.
Next year, 10 historic downtown buildings will undergo renovations restoring their façades to mirror their pasts thanks to a half million-dollar grant from the state.
The city of Greenfield was tapped recently for a $500,000 downtown revitalization grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. One of only three communities to be chosen for the award, Greenfield will invest about $700,000, including the grant funding, to give facelifts to structures that comprise the heart of the city.
The remaining $200,000 of the funds city officials plan to spend on the project will come from community donations, as well as contributions from property owners and city funds.
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An average of about $69,000 will go toward each of the 10 buildings. Work is slated to begin in early 2017.
Buildings being renovated as part of the project are:
The Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce building — 1 Courthouse Plaza — owned by the Greater Greenfield Chamber of Commerce Inc.
Wolf Law Firm — 6 E. Main St. — owned by Wolf, WmH
Strahl and Apple Law Firm — 8 W. Main St. — owned by Dan L. Strahl
Wooden Bear Brewing Co. — 21 W. North St. — owned by Twenty Main LLC
Carnegie’s Restaurant — 100 W. North St. — owned by Ian Harrison
McCleerey’s Sporting Goods — 22 S. State St. — owned by McCleerey’s Sporting Goods
McCleerey’s commercial building — 28-32 S. State St. — owned by Steve McCleerey
Twenty North Gallery — 20 N. State St. — owned by Twenty Main LLC
Highsmith Guns — 123 N. State St. — owned by Drake Real Estate LLC
The Randall Building — 2 E. Main St. — owned by Leejen Commercial LLC
The federally funded Main Street Revitalization Program encourages communities to focus on long-term community development projects within historic downtown districts. This year, $1.5 million of grant dollars were up for grabs.
For months, city officials, building owners and architects worked to submit a worthy application for the award, said city planner Joanie Fitzwater, whose office spearheaded the process. They met with building owners, held public meetings and asked for community donations toward the project, all before submitting an application in October.
“We’ve been on pins and needles waiting to hear,” Fitzwater said. “I’m lost for words – it is just humbling, really, to think of all the people and all of the effort that has been going on in improving our downtown for so long.”
The grant funding gives Greenfield an opportunity to delve deeper into its downtown revitalization plan, which was drafted in 2013 as a blueprint for sprucing up the area near State and Main streets, Fitzwater said.
The work planned for restoring the historic structures varies but includes masonry work, new paint, the installation of new doors and windows to open up store fronts, lighting and new fabric awnings.
The work aims to either restore features specific to the buildings’ past or to add those that are time period-appropriate.
Preliminary plans for the building that houses Wooden Bear Brewing Co., for example, call for the installation of a glass overhead door.
At Highsmith Guns, which was built in 1946, new windows and doors will be installed to give the building a more historic feel, said owner Mark Highsmith.
Coming up with the 25 percent match owners were required to contribute — about $6,000 for Highsmith — was a strain, he said. But now, the grant enables him to restore the building to ensure it’s still standing for years to come, an undertaking he couldn’t afford to do on his own, he said.
“This was fantastic news,” he said. “I’m really excited about this building. I has some character to it, and we want to try to preserve it.”
The city will work with business owners and architect Pat Jacobs of ARCHtrio, an Indianapolis-based firm, to finalize design work for the 10 buildings, and Fitzwater would like to see construction start soon after the first of the year, as the project will take several months to complete, she said.
“Can you imagine what our community is going to look like a year from now?” she asked.