Fortville Town Council adopts downtown redesign plans

FORTVILLE — The Fortville Town Council has adopted a road map for redesigning its downtown after nearly two years of planning.

Since early 2016, the Fortville Redevelopment Commission has conducted public meetings and worked with engineers to create a master plan for the 250-acre district, which sits along Broadway Street, encompasses the town’s historic Main Street and extends a mile to the east and west along State Road 67.

The 172-page master plan for the district is a road map for prioritizing improvements to the downtown area, which includes adding curbs, crosswalks and sidewalks along Broadway Street that will make the area safer and more walkable for local families.

The document also outlines plans to narrow Broadway Street from four driving lanes to three, which would slow traffic, making the thoroughfare more pedestrian-friendly.

Stakeholders in the project hope it will increase foot traffic to downtown and ultimately attract more businesses.

The town council approved the plan at its most recent meeting, town manager Joe Renner said.

Work on the master plan started in early 2016 when Fortville created a new tax-increment financing, or TIF, district, that includes Broadway Street and downtown. TIF districts, which encompass commercial property, use property taxes collected from businesses in the district to promote economic development and pay for town improvement projects.

The project is expected to cost the town $6 million to $9 million. All that funding would be generated by the taxes collected from businesses in the TIF district. Town officials anticipate construction will be completed by 2020.

The master plan addresses everything from additional landscaping options that will make the town’s Broadway corridor more visually appealing to traffic flow changes that have been submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation, records show.

Community members were asked for input on improvements they’d like to see, and the town’s leaders worked with engineers from American Structurepoint Inc. to finalize the redesign strategies, making recommendations on which aspects of the project should be completed first.

Town leaders have worked closely with INDOT and their neighbors to the north, the Madison County Council, to make a plan that is cohesive to those in other municipalities.

The town recently got the blessing from INDOT to move forward with its plans to reconfigure Broadway Street to have one lane each of eastbound and westbound traffic with a shared center turn lane.

Fortville planning administrator Adam Zaklikowski said traffic levels on Broadway Street currently waver between needing a three- or four-lane road; and the town anticipates traffic will increase as the area grows. But there are benefits to having fewer lanes that make a three-lane road the better option for the town’s desired walkability plans, he said.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.