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BEAUTIFY ’BUSCO: Biz owners address downtown revitalization

July 26, 2012

Post & Mail photo / Robin R. Plasterer: Dave Pearson explains the architect’s rendering of Churubusco’s Main Street Project to business owners and representatives, from left to right, Ken Hill, Miles Wilson and Pete Allen.

CHURUBUSCO — Several Churubusco business owners attended a town meeting regarding the Main Street Churubusco (MSC) project Wednesday at Smith-Green Community Schools administrative offices.
Dave Pearson, chairman of MSC, welcomed a majority of downtown Churubusco business owners.
Pearson explained how the project was started when Frank Kessler, town council president, approached him to become a part of Indiana’s Main Street Project in late fall of 2010.
Then, a sub-committee was formed and the 12-step process required to be a part of IMSP began.
“The final step is being completed tonight with all of you, being business owners and representatives,” said Pearson.
Attending the meeting were Dave Backman of Studio 121 and Regal Publishing; Michelle Tartaglia, co-owner of the Bargain House, Pete Allen of PNC Bank, Ken Hill of K&K Video & Books; Miles Wilson of Sheets & Childs Funeral Home and Carey Jacquay Photography.
Lucas Konger, a local architect with Vintage Archonics, was on hand to discuss his suggestions for future façade updates on Main Street buildings. Jacquay provided Konger the actual photographs of the buildings.
Konger was a part of the design team that drew Parkview Whitley Hospital and Medic Building and the new Fire Station in Churubusco.
Pearson explained the MSC will spread south of Churubusco to CR 300 N. and north to Blue Lake Road. MSC will go east to the Whitley-Allen County Line and west to CR 850.
“The purpose of MSC project is to enhance and create a positive atmosphere for conduct of business and quality of life in our community,” said Pearson as he read the mission statement of MSC.
“This is done through a private partnership of pride to make our community a better place to live, work and shop while promoting our hometown appeal,” he continued.
Pearson explained the MSC mid-term goals are to get façade grants in place.
“Our long-term goals are to find and apply for grants for additional funding for the public portion of the streetscape,” said Pearson.
Questions arose about the grime and dirt that comes from cars and trucks that drive on Main Street, which is U.S. 33 and SR 205.
“Cleaners used to use an acid wash on the cement blocks, but now it’s just a matter of a lot of elbow grease and water,” said Konger.
Kessler talked about the town’s Façade Improvement Grant Program.
“The viability of downtown Churubusco is vital to the commercial viability of Churubusco as a whole,” said Kessler.
The purpose of this grant is to stimulate efforts to improve the street appearance of Churubusco’s commercial and business facades and in doing so, help stimulate the business environment of Churubusco.
The program is funded by the Town of Churubusco and managed by the MSC committee and the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce.
The program offers up to $5,000 maximum per applicant (dependent upon the scope of work outlined), which may be under one or more grant applications.
All grants awarded require a matching dollar-for-dollar expenditure by the owner or tenant.
For the fiscal year 2012, there is a total of $25,000 available and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Lucas put suggestions on this rendering, but it is not meant to insult you only to assist you and give you ideas on how your business facades could be better,” said Pearson.
Kessler added that replacing the windows to mimic the original ones could be made out of vinyl for a fraction of the cost.
“Back in 1968, most of the entrance doors on the businesses were made out of aluminum,” said Konger.
“Today you can get a steel insulated frame that is galvanized and painted any color you would want. They even have fiberglass doors that look like wood to mimic older looking doors.”
Kessler and Pearson urged the business owners to take advantage of these grants.
“You can help us by taking these grants and then we, as a committee, can go for other grants coming from the state,” said Pearson.
“You don’t have to spend $50,000 to improve your buildings,” said Backman.
“What I spent on that building of mine was time. I pulled off the siding and restained the cedar that was already there. I’d like to remodel the entire second floor of my building but that would take a lot of work, and I’m not ready for that yet. But someday,” he said.
“Help us by applying for these grants,” said Pete Allen, member of MSC.
“There are Lillie grants and others out there upwards to $250,000. This façade grant is heading in the right direction. There is so much we can do to beautify Churubusco,” said Allen.
Any Churubusco business owner wanting more information can contact Pearson at 750-6207 or Kessler at 693-3847.

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