The award of a federally-funded $40,000 planning grant will allow city officials to develop a Downtown Revitalization Study to address ways to improve, strengthen and promote the community’s downtown and, in turn, residents’ quality of life and the city’s economic development opportunities.
According to Mayor Chris McBarnes, this grant was pursued as a result of the partnership between his office, the Clinton County Purdue Extension Office and the Frankfort Main Street Program who collaborated to host an Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces workshop last May.
“Frankfort’s downtown is the heart of our community and the home of our central business district, so we will be concentrating our efforts on evaluating and improving public spaces in this particular neighborhood for the long-term social, economic and environmental health of Frankfort and Clinton County overall,” McBarnes said.
According to McBarnes, a major focus for the next four years will be on quality of place.
“Quality of place are those tangible elements found in our Neighborhood Revitalization and Economic Development cornerstones, including downtown facades, park enhancements, housing and growing our population in strategic ways to attract young professionals to our community. Those factors, along with beautification, sustainability and making our downtown a very appealing element to attract young entrepreneurs to do business here and young families to locate to Frankfort and Clinton County, are major pieces of our overall downtown revitalization efforts.
“Community members have told us they want a more vibrant, healthy downtown with more retail and commercial businesses located around and near the Courthouse Square. The outcome of listening to that feedback was the Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces workshop this past May.
“We eventually want to be in a position to promote private investment in our downtown through outside funding resources. Through this planning grant, the creation of a Downtown Revitalization Study will be the blueprint for action steps in the years to come,” the Mayor said.
According to Main Street Program Executive Director Kim Stevens, the workshop involved stakeholders from throughout the city and county with information shared by Purdue Extension specialists and educators on the best practices for improving public spaces.
“We worked together as a team to learn how to collect data on community assets and use that data to plan public space improvements as part of our action plan. Utilizing the $40,000 planning grant, we will be able to move ahead with the continued creation of an action plan to implement later on this year,” Stevens said.
The grant is from the Small Cities and Towns Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).