Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

October 11, 2012

City on display for Main Street Conference

Wednesday was a day to showcase Kokomo, never mind the windy, cold day, as a group of Main Street advocates from around the state got their first look at the flowers, plants and public art installations downtown.

“You all are just so successful; you have the most elaborate, beautiful, welcoming landscaping system I’ve seen in a long time,” said Lauren Adkins, the keynote speaker at this year’s Indiana Main Street Conference. “It really pops out at you.”

About 150 people will be in Kokomo, attending the conference, through today, and they’ll be catching up on the latest ideas to revitalize the downtown areas of their hometowns.

Kokomo’s beautification efforts, which have garnered several awards in recent years from the Indiana Main Street Association, “went into the reasons why we chose Kokomo for a location,” said Shae Kmicikewycz, program manager for the association.

“Growing up in Logansport, I was able to see the changes in Kokomo over time, and Kokomo went through what a lot of communities went through. It had a lot to do with U.S. 31 building up, to where the downtown almost died because of it. And it has taken 25 years to build downtown back up,” she said.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, a major backer of downtown

revitalization efforts, opened the conference with a run-down on what the city has been doing, from removing parking meters and automatic traffic signals, to changing downtown streets from one-way to two-way streets.

Those efforts won plaudits from David Terrell, who heads the Main Street Association as part of his duties as deputy chief of staff for Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.

“People are always looking at your community, and if your downtown’s not thriving, it says something about the character of your community, rightly or wrongly,” Terrell said.

In addition to taking a guided tour of downtown, hosted by the Kokomo Art Association, conferees also have a chance to go on a tour of Kokomo Opalescent Glass, the art glass manufacturer founded in Kokomo in 1888.

The age of some of Indiana’s downtown areas can be turned into an advantage, Adkins said, where the mixture of historic places and places of civic importance can make a downtown unique.

“In some places, a downtown is just business,” Adkins added. “You want to make sure it’s a little more special than just a shopping center.”

Susan Alexander, an official with the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, said she’s excited about some of the ideas at the conference, particularly the idea of hosting gala events in unused spaces downtown.

The idea has been tried with success in places like South Bend, Kmicikewycz said, where one-off art openings and parties have been held in vacant spaces. The idea is both to bring people downtown, and to have the event serve as a kind of open house for the property owner.

Cecile Petro of the Highland Redevelopment Agency said her Lake County town has had four of the events, resulting in three buildings being leased and one building negotiating a lease.

Alexander said so much has come together in downtown Kokomo over the past four years that the growth probably equals what the downtown area saw in the previous 20 years.

“It really has paid off. We’re getting new businesses coming down here, and it’s beautiful,” she said.

And when other Main Street advocates ask how the downtown landscaping looks so vibrant this late in the year, Alexander said she has an answer.

“It’s the fact we have hundreds of volunteers that do the planting, that were out working today on the sidewalk gardens, cleaning up,” she said. “I just see so much collaboration on the downtown’s behalf.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Two face attempted murder for Wednesday shooting Kokomo police arrested two men on attempted murder charges stemming from a Wednesday afternoon shooting in the area of South Union and Harrison streets. No one was injured. Officers converged on the area about 3:30 p.m. to numerous reports of shots f

    April 24, 2014

  • 2nd UPDATE: 1 found dead after apartment fire near Purdue

    Authorities say one person was found dead after a fire that badly burned an apartment building where many Purdue University students live near the campus.

    April 24, 2014

  • Art FOr the Sky Wallace School hosts Indiana’s first Art for the Sky project From the ground, the crowd gathered at Wallace School of Integrated Arts on Wednesday seemed like nothing more than people in colorful T-shirts standing in odd groups. But with "sky sight," the formation took on the large-scale image of a paint palet

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • City acquires more right of way for Nickel Plate Trail extension The city of Kokomo acquired another piece of land for the construction of the Nickel Plate Trail in its quest to extend the trail from county line to county line. The city's Board of Public Works and Safety approved a recreational trail easement that

    April 24, 2014

  • County residents speak out against wind energy As debate continues over the construction of wind turbines in Howard County and its neighbors, residents are turning up the heat on officials in an effort to stop development in the southeast corner of the county. Concerned citizens spoke out during

    April 24, 2014

  • Driver in fatal hit and run on Center Road pleads guilty The driver of a truck involved in an August hit-and-run crash that killed a 13-year-old boy could get as much as seven years behind bars if a judge accepts his plea. Randall K. Rector, 58, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in d

    April 24, 2014

  • TUFF CURBS Locals upset over Markland curb plans Plans to eliminate left-hand turns along the city's busiest business corridor caused a major uproar Tuesday. Business owners, city officials and state legislators spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday on the phone protesting to Indiana Department of Tr

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police reports Howard County Arrests Tuesday, 4:34 p.m., police arrested Alisha Whitt, 27, 500 block of South Washington Street, at that residence, on a parole violation. Tuesday, 6:21 p.m., police arrested a 15-year-old male in the 400 block of West Sycamore Stree

    April 24, 2014

  • Eastern to move forward with $2M renovation to jr./sr. high school GREENTOWN -- Renovations at Eastern Sr./Jr. High will continue this summer after the board of education on Tuesday approved spending another $2 million on the final stage of upgrades. There will be no net impact on taxes, which has been a priority fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Volunteers still helping tornado victims Back in March, volunteers set out to inform tornado-ravaged neighborhoods there is still help out there. The small group of volunteers, part of the Long Term Recovery Team, took to the streets of the worst areas hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes, passing

    April 24, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries