Jeff, Vickie Doris target Linton's downtown
Information on development in downtown Linton was shared with local business owners in a luncheon meeting hosted by the Greene County Economic Development Corporation on Monday at the Old Bank & Company restaurant.
Jeff and Vickie Doris, owners of Linton Family Pharmacy and Main Street Gifts, have recently formed the Linton Redevelopment LLC. The company has a mission to profitably save and rehabilitate historic landmark properties that are within the federally designated Linton Commercial Historic District into structures capable of hosting mixed business, municipal and residential occupants with 21st century needs.
A key strategy of this mission is to make full use of all available federal, state and local tax incentives and grants and well-qualified local contractors.
Jeff Doris provided details on the new venture, how it started and how he hopes it will benefit downtown.
"We've owned the (Linton) Family Pharmacy for 13 years and we wanted to improve and renovate the current building," he explained.
That initial purchase was followed by the purchases of the former furniture store on the corner of A and Main Streets, the former Cine building, the former Harrah Realty Building, and the old city hall.
"The furniture store was bought with the expectation to tear down and put up a new building. We wanted to build something that would have meshed with the downtown feel," he said.
But, that plan has changed and now the old furniture store will be renovated and may house the pharmacy, gift shop and living space.
"It's 16,000 square feet and we want to add an additional 4,000," he said after the meeting.
Vickie Doris also added, "The pharmacy building has never served the best and never was the choice building (for the business)."
During the meeting, Jeff also called the former city hall structure "a very noble building" that has had some demolition work done on the inside.
He also shared the company vision which says that historic structures be rehabilitated with purpose to create and foster an environment that will support economic growth and provide employment, convenience and increase the quality of life in the Greene County area.
"This economic growth will help to build a nascent tourism industry currently tied to Greene County destinations such as Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, the Greene-Sullivan State Forest, Shakamak State Park, Redbird State Riding Area, Piankeshaw Trails, Shawnee Theatre, the Linton Music Festival, Marsh Madness and the Linton Freedom Festival parade," he added.
Stan Palma, project developer/manager, said the project has three phases.
Phase I involves work on the furniture building plus the street front to the alley.
Phase II includes old city hall plus the quarter block.
"They (Jeff and Vickie Doris) have interesting new businesses they want to develop there," Palma said.
Phase III includes the Cine Theatre building.
Jeff Doris was later asked about a timeline on the project and what work has been completed.
"We've started the biggest part of the first phase and we've done some engineering studies," he said, adding a survey on the city hall building has been conducted and economic advisors have started to look for funding.
"There is no timeline. I have hurdles in my head that I want to jump at certain points," he explained, later adding two-and-a-half to three years.
During discussion, local business owner Kathy Matthews thanked Jeff and Vickie for their commitment to downtown and added, "I love the layout of our town and hate to see the deterioration."
In closing, Jeff said, "This area has tremendous assets, whether you like the Goose Pond or not ... it's not going away ... why not get people in Indianapolis to come here and stay at a bed and breakfast, watch a show at the Cine. ... All of the assets are here, it's just a matter of using them."
Joan Bethell, executive director of GCEDC, agreed and asked business owners what they want Linton to be known for?
She also said, "The bottom line is that the project is designed to positively impact the downtown area."