Tuesday evening, March 26th about 50 people attended a presentation by Bob Heiden, a 1999 PHS grad, from Jones Petrie and Rafinski (JPR) on concepts to revitalize Plymouth’s downtown area.  The event was hosted at The REES Theatre.  The downtown area is Michigan Street from the Yellow River to Jefferson Street and on the side-streets including a gathering space on Garro Street.  Mayor Listenberger wants to take the project to the viaduct on South Michigan Street. 

The public forum allowed interested citizens to look at two separate concepts what were created with the help of the mayor’s administration, a meeting with the downtown merchants and a presentation at the Plymouth Rotary Club.   

The goal of the study is to enhance and utilize the existing strengths of downtown.   The idea is to incorporate greater accessibility with safe pedestrian crossings including ADA compliant ramps, improved lighting, add seating areas, create a multi-use design for Garro Street, with a goal to encourage economic growth in the downtown. 

The team looked at the current conditions of the 40-year-old improvements which shows aged lighting, trees that are dying, trash receptacles that are outdated and issues with the sidewalk.

The concepts participants looked at include updated lighting, different trees, modern trash receptacles, the inclusion of bike racks, seating areas, and renovation of sidewalks that could accommodate outdoor dining.

The concepts do show that bumpouts could be installed at intersections but with the tactical urbanism project at Michigan and Garro Street major issues were revealed.   The proposal would be created to allow right hand turns.  The bumpouts slow down traffic and create a safer way for pedestrians to cross the street.

One of the concepts showed parallel parking on Michigan Street instead of angle parking. Parallel parking would create a center turning lane through downtown.  It was noted that the design would remove about 60 percent of the available parking spaces.

The concepts do show how Garro Street could be transformed into a gathering space with temporary bollards being installed for the event. The idea would make the area look different than the street but would allow regular traffic when there are no event.

Mayor Robert Listenberger stressed that these are merely concepts.  Nothing is set in stone and the city does not have any immediate plans to do any renovations in the downtown area. He said there would be lots of planning and public input sessions before any construction would begin.

Following the presentation several people asked questions and voiced their thoughts and opinions on the parking, bumpouts, parallel parking, lighting issues and more. 

Everyone must remember that Michigan Street is State Road 17 so any changes would have to be approved by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).