NEW PALESTINE — The desk in the conference room at New Palestine Town Hall is covered with dozens of notes, pictures and plans for the creation of a new Town Square. The project is something town officials say they would like to build sooner rather than later.

For months, town officials have been collecting ideas from town residents and community organizations about what they would like to see with the construction of new government offices.

Town officials say they are finally starting the process to make those plans become reality and are creating some renderings for the project, even though it will take many years to develop,

“We’re in the dreaming stage right now,” town manager Jim Robinson said. “We don’t have the land, the developer or even the money to pay for it, but we’ve got to start somewhere with the idea and that’s where we are.”

Robinson secured $2,000 from the Town’s Council recently to use for the creation of renderings for the proposed project, which will help him develop partnerships to move the idea forward. He noted the expansion of the town’s Tax Increment Finance (TIF) area could help town officials come up with the money to help pay for such a venture, which he believes is long overdue.

“We’re growing at a pretty good clip and we need a facility that reflects that,” Robinson said. “We want something that shows the town’s charm and historic past, but is also modern and has room for offices as we continue to grow.”

Council president Clint Bledsoe said he’s in favor of the project in his final year on the council and knows there is a great deal of support for such a venture.

“This town is going to be moving fast in the next 10 years,” Bledsoe said. “I think it’s a good idea, and I think we’d like to move down west of Gem Road because the town seems to be stretching out that way rather than heading east.”

Since 2005, Town Hall, the New Palestine Police Department, the clerk’s office and other town offices have been located inside an old bank structure sitting at the east end of town on U.S. 52. As the town and the surrounding areas in the community continue to grow, town officials say it’s time to get serious about having a new government facility and more.

“We want something that will almost be like a destination place where people can come and enjoy themselves outside during town events,” Robinson said.

In addition to starting the process of finding land on which to construct a new Town Square, officials are looking for partnerships and developers they can work with to create a multi-use area to include a park, walking trails, an amphitheater for outdoor concerts, a place for other businesses and more.

Officials with New Palestine Main Street are supporting the need for a new Town Square, Julie Lucas said.

“We have mutual ideas with town officials,” Lucas said.

The organization has been trying to land grant monies for an amphitheater and hopes any plans for a new Town Square would offer that kind of feature.

“We’ve had the dream of trying to acquire some more land for a while now where we can have a big amphitheater for some of our bigger events,” Lucas said.

While she noted Main Street officials cherish the quaintness of the small area they have on Depot Street, a place they currently use for concerts and events, they know with growth, they’re going to need a much larger area.

“We’d love to see something with a Town Center that has a beautiful park setting to bring everyone together and have lots of family activities,” Lucas said. “We need to find the proper grounds and iron out the details and move forward as quickly as we can.”

Lucas noted the current Town Hall and offices inside the bank has the look of being in a bank and, while that’s fine, she said town residents deserve a facility that is more user friendly with more private offices and meeting rooms.

“To create something that is more community friendly would be a great thing for the community,” she said.

Lucas is concerned about how rapidly the land in and around New Palestine is being gobbled up by developers and would like to see the town be able to purchase a large piece of land to preserve and utilize the prospective property as a family-friendly community space.

“A big green space with much-needed facilities would be a wonderful thing,” she said.

The hard part about the prospective property is that the town operates on a tight budget, estimated around $1.7 million a year. That makes it clear town officials will have to get assistance from partnerships, grant and TIF monies to move forward.

“We’re looking for partners who will do their part and join in with us on this,” Robinson said. “I’ve had several meetings with engineers, developers and people who are interested, so we know there is support.”

He is also meeting with nearby town officials who have created new town centers to get some ideas and find out how they funded such projects. Robinson plans to have renderings for the proposed project ready for the town’s council to add their thoughts as soon as the end of the month or in early February.

“I want to see those plans,” Bledsoe said.

Still, Bledsoe noted that, while it’s good to have a big idea for a new community town square, paying for it is the big issue.

“That funding — it’s always the thing,” Bledsoe said. “Everybody has a vision, but somebody has got to pay for that vision, and that’s the stickler.”