Linton praises downtown revitalization plan

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Linton City Council praised the efforts of a local businessman who underwrote the development of a Downtown Community Revitalization Plan Monday.

Linton developer Jeff Doris presented the proposal with area planner Stan Palma of Palma Architects, an Indianapolis firm which has guided other, similarly-sized cities in their renovations.

Palma nicknamed the plan "From C to Shining C" because its boundaries are a square bordered by C Streets on the north and south, and by 3rd Street on the east and 2nd Street on the west.

That boundary line, which Palma said was done for simplicity's sake, incorporates all of the city's historic district as well as a small portion of residential areas.

Ultimately, homeowners won't be affected by the proposal, Palma said.

However, part of the plan does call for repurposing old businesses downtown into new housing which would increase traffic in the business district and add to demand for commercial shops there.

In coming months, the council will consider the plan, with public comment sought. It may then be revised and adopted, and could assist in guiding civic improvements and seeking state and federal funds.

Because Doris paid the costs for the study, no taxpayer money was utilized for the work.

In the long term, Mayor Patti Jones said the downtown plan could also be used to establish a tax-increment financing (TIF) district which could capture a portion of property taxes to be used for infrastructure and utility improvements.

"That could be a great idea, but I think it's a long term idea," Palma said.

The proposal's draft will soon be available on www.lintonredevelopment.com, a website which is presently a placeholder.

Doris, of Linton Redevelopment LLC, has purchased several buildings on both sides of Main Street in the northern part of the business district, including the former Cine Theatre and the former City Hall and police station.

He's in the process of renovating several properties on Main Street's northwest side,

"We're a year into it, and I'm already tired," Doris said.

However, he won praise from Jones for his work.

"It already looks much better," she said, noting she's been given a tour of the work in progress and is very impressed. "I had the opportunity to go through some of the buildings, and even with just a short time between the two times I went through there's been a tremendous amount of difference. Hopefully, that effort will be contagious downtown."

City Clerk-Treasurer Jack Shelton concurred.

"What you've done already has made a big difference," he told Doris.

Successful cities and towns which have undergone renovations have generally done two things, Palma said. "First, they've leveraged Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) funds to improve a major highway which goes through their town," he said. "And then, they've leveraged Community Focus Fund money or historic site money for facade improvements" as well as greenery.

"You don't have to have all the buildings redone," said Palma, adding many of Linton's buildings are sound structurally.

Linton's also rare, Palma said, because nearly all those buildings have remained standing. Even those with interior problems such as the Cine Theatre still have strong steel structures, and could be revitalized.

"Linton had a tremendous coal boom once," Palma said. "And you've gotten some wonderful buildings because of that...What we're trying to do here is empower as many people downtown as we can."

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  • I would like to see other downtown business owners get on board with this plan. How nice would it be to see the old downtown restored to its former glory?

    Jeff took the first step. Who will follow?

    Traditional architecture is much better than corrugated barn metal and rotten wood siding. There is money to assist with the revamping of historic structures, all you have to do is go look for it online.

    I encourage the City Council and downtown business owners to support this plan.

    -- Posted by Cousin Eddie on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 12:35 AM
  • How about we just re-designate the area around Wal-Mart as downtown and then we won't need to waste taxpayer dollars revitalizing it?

    -- Posted by keninman on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 5:28 AM
  • Not everyone believes that revitalizing downtown is a "waste of taxpayer dollars"

    -- Posted by THE END on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 7:46 AM
  • I have heard this story all before elsewhere...DON'T DO IT! An expensive esthetic cover-up with very limited monetary return. My opinion only!

    -- Posted by Ex-Pat on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 8:32 AM
  • *

    If there's money to be had with grants and other assistance, why not go for it? Not only will it create temporary work for local construction jobs, but it will also help our town look better for new businesses and residents.

    -- Posted by per moenia urbis on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 9:14 AM
  • keninman,

    How about you go find a place to live that doesn't rely on the government. Maybe you would be happy then.

    -- Posted by Cousin Eddie on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 9:42 AM
  • "grants and other assistance": Is not Obama money from Obama's stash. We are paying for it in some manner.

    "find a place to live that doesn't rely on the government": Should make us all happy. It's called "self-reliance.

    "Jeff should be praised for his efforts"".: It's his money. Go for it.

    Wal-Mart isn't going anywhere. That makes anything else a money-pit.

    -- Posted by Ex-Pat on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 10:47 AM
  • Buy local!

    -- Posted by RDK on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 11:34 AM
  • The best way to revitalize downtown Linton would begin with a wrecking ball and a bull dozer. Give it up, you are not going to get back what you had because industry made all of that. Industry is gone from Linton. You have a few low paying jobs and a swamp south of town. Like it or leave it.

    -- Posted by migrated north on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 12:40 PM
  • I think that some people are misinformed about what this revitalization plan is all about.

    A. It's not going to cost anyone money, unless they choose to spend their own.

    B. If you don't want to participate, you don't have to.

    Having this plan adopted by the City will allow business owners to apply for certain types of funding for various projects that involve building rehabilitation and economic development. It says, "Hey, we, The City of Linton, are cool with that fact that some people want to make our downtown a better place." More of a credibility thing. If your house falls into the redevelopment area, you are not affected.

    This is not zoning by any means.

    -- Posted by Cousin Eddie on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 10:09 PM
  • I have heard this story all before elsewhere...DON'T DO IT! An expensive esthetic cover-up with very limited monetary return. My opinion only!

    -- Posted by Ex-Pat on Tue, Jul 12, 2011, at 8:32 AM

    I'm sure people said the same thing before they did the work to revitalize Bloomington's downtown. It seems to be doing pretty well these days.

    -- Posted by EggMan on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 11:30 AM
  • you are comparing Linton to Bloomington? really? I am all for the revitalization but not for the same reason's as eggman! I believe a busy downtown district is very much a realistic venture but please don't make it something it never was to begin with! the college town brings in all types from all over this country, I don't think Linton ever had that type of draw...

    -- Posted by lillymae on Wed, Jul 13, 2011, at 5:55 PM
  • I'm not comparing the two. I'm just pointing out that people say doing these types of things are a waste of money, but in the end they wind up enhancing a community.

    -- Posted by EggMan on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 9:56 AM
  • I am against our government using our tax money to selectively build the wealth of individuals.

    The government should get out of the way, allow personal risks assessment and planning to happen (funded by the risk taker-which has happened in this case), and if the idea is a good one, then it will stand on it's own as profitable. If the buildings are profitable, then excellent, entrepreneurship has prevailed.

    These following two statements from the article are troubling as they referrence using tax money for the contruction of individual wealth.

    "tax-increment financing (TIF) district which could capture a portion of property taxes" and

    "they've leveraged Community Focus Fund money or historic site money for facade improvements", in other words, the folks that applied and received Community Focus Fund money use that as leverage to help their idea succeed. They are using tax money (it's ours not the governments!) to increase personal wealth. I choose to use our tax money to support the 18 enumerated expenses specifically mentioned in Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution. To do otherwise is a loose interpretation and irresponsible as our government is now experiencing.

    "Even those with interior problems such as the Cine Theatre still have strong steel structures, and could be revitalized." If I remember correctly, the cine theater was given to the city of Linton as the owner couldn't afford to replace the $250,000 roof or the property taxes. I wonder why the city has dumped the property...I think it was a liability. The Cine theater has more than interior problems, it has several feet of water standing in the lower level, the roof needs replaced and the rest needs gutted and replaced. A few steel beams does not a building make. Sometimes, one just needs to bulldoze the building and start over with the piece of land.

    I sure hope downtown Linton can get back some of the commerce that has gone to Wal-Mart, but it will be due to the population, as a whole, not just a few predictable bloggers, to take out their wallets and purses to make it profitable.

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 11:12 AM
  • A lot of you seem so quick to judge. The funds that will be sought after are there for the taking. They will not magically go to the people or places you think in your mind they should. Why shouldn't local merchants take advantage of what ever is out there to improve our community? One of you and you know who you are just needs to pack up and move closer to his work so he won't be bothered by our little small town problems. You are always quick to throw in a snide comment but very rarely have anything good to say about anything or mostly anyone. I feel sorry for you. The article is good but if you really want to get the full scope of what this attempted revitalization will mean for our town. Go to the website. If nothing else, you can see how far we have come. The pictures are great but please don't stop there. If you truly care about saving downtown, read the whole site and check back for updates. I had nothing to do with this and only saw it for the first time today but I believe that it is a step in the right direction. You are entitled to your opinion. I say kudos to a little vision which I believe was a seed planted by our late Mayor Tom Jones. He is still looking out for us!

    -- Posted by truthorfiction on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 2:01 AM
  • How does a TIF district aid in helping individual wealth?

    -- Posted by EggMan on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 3:45 PM
  • TIF grants may or may not improve an individual's wealth depending on the particular application. The part that ought to bother you, if you pay property taxes, is the use of our money "captured" and not returned to the taxpayer.

    When will this entitlement mentality stop and the ridiculus spending brought under control?

    If an individual can't afford it on their own then they need a better business plan or at least a way to try and succeed by not depending on taxpayer money.

    -- Posted by cow rancher on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 10:47 PM
  • It is my understanding that money from a TIF district is used to fund infrastructure improvements inside of that area.

    -- Posted by EggMan on Tue, Jul 19, 2011, at 3:43 PM
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