What will be included in Depot Street Park?
The new Depot Street Park will be located on Depot Street between Pennsylvania Street and Riley Avenue. Pennsy Trail runs directly through the park location, which will encourage cyclists and trail walkers to stop and enjoy the many amenities that Greenfield has to offer. The biggest draw for Depot Street Park will be the dual-sided stage that can host concerts, dance groups and other live performances outdoors. On one side of the stage will be an art plaza, and on the other will be large green spaces to host event audiences. The park will also have cafe table seating, bike racks, sway benches and interactive art displays.
When will Depot Street Park open?
Although some other Parks & Rec projects were initially delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Depot Street Park is still on track to open this summer. RLTurner Corporation, a local Central Indiana contractor, broke ground on the park in January 2021. Right now, the construction is primarily focused on utilities and storm drainage. “Towards the end of May and into June, we’ll start to see site furnishings,” said Joanie Fitzwater, Greenfield City Planning Director.
While the project should be completed by July 31, no large events can be hosted on the lawn until the grass has grown in. The city anticipates a soft launch at the Riley Festival, Oct. 7-10, 2021, where the hard surfaces can be utilized for small entertainment, local music and dance groups. Then in summer 2022, the city is planning a major grand opening with a major name band still to be determined.
How does this benefit the downtown façade program?
Updating this area of Depot Street near the heart of downtown Greenfield will make another big difference to the appearance and usability of our city. The park is located along the old Pennsylania Railroad, now the Pennsy Trail, and has spurred additional development such as the renovation of the Grain Elevator into what will soon be The Depot Restaurant. This is the first true grain elevator restoration in the state. Another happy outcome is Libby’s Ice Cream shop getting ready to open in a shared space with Downtown Cuts on the corner of Pennsylvania and Depot Street. Renovations of our historic buildings have always been a major focus of the Stellar Regional Communities designation that we received in 2018, as a part of the Health and Heritage Region comprised of Greenfield, the Towns of Fortville and Shirley, as well as Hancock County.
“I like to call the historic buildings ‘our quiet asset,’” said Fitzwater. “They’re in the background but they are so compelling to tourists and residents alike. I remember the first time I drove through Greenfield I was just in awe of the historic homes and buildings and they are so important to preserve.” The city is currently in the midst of our second facade update project totaling about $736,000 in grant and local funding, with seven historic buildings being renovated throughout downtown. “Usually you have to wait seven years before you can apply for another facade grant,” said Fitzwater, “and we are really fortunate to be designated as a Stellar Community because we were able to apply again. Between the two façade grant efforts, we’ll be putting about $1.5 million into a total of 16 historic facades downtown.”
In addition, Greenfield Main Street has also provided numerous facade grants over the years that help building owners and merchants with façade improvements. These grants are awarded for up to $3,000 and used for such things as awnings, paint and signage. Greenfield Main Street has awarded approximately $150,000 since 2010, supplementing about $800,000 of building improvement projects.
What will these updates bring to the City of Greenfield?
The opening of Depot Street Park and preserving our architectural heritage are further steps in the goal of place-making for the City of Greenfield, which helps bring more businesses, residents and economic growth to our community. When bigger businesses choose to relocate, they are in large part seeking out locations that will offer their employees a place to call home. “There are a lot of people who work together to make Greenfield a great place,” said Fitzwater. “Our goal is to make downtown a place that people want to be, where downtown merchants can thrive and more businesses can relocate here.”
The Indiana Stellar Communities Program is a multi-state department investment initiative led by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The Health and Heritage Stellar Region is a collaboration between citizens, non-profit organizations and municipalities that is reshaping the future of Hancock County. The region, comprised of the City of Greenfield, Town of Fortville and Hancock County leadership, is focused on promoting and cultivating the health, heritage and heart of our area. To follow our projects and learn more about us, visit our Facebook page or our website at healthandheritage.com.
Depot Street Photo Credit: Greenfield Reporter Article by Ben Middelkamp
Park Groundbreaking Photo Credit: RLTurner Corporation Twitter Account