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
  • Driver in Thursday crash cited for six traffic violations Kokomo police gave the driver of the jeep involved in Thursday afternoon’s crash on North Ohio Street six citations, including driving with a suspended driver’s license.

    August 22, 2014

  • 8 inches of overnight rain floods part of Indiana INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Heavy rains that dumped more than half a foot of rain overnight in some places triggered widespread flooding Friday in some central and northern Indiana counties. State police closed a section of Interstate 69 in both directions

    August 22, 2014

  • Purdue Security Video Purdue posts disputed video of photographer online

    Purdue University has posted online a surveillance video that college newspaper editors say shows a staff photographer being roughed up by police near where a student had been fatally shot and stabbed. Purdue posted the vi

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sobriety checkpoints planned for today in Kokomo The Howard County Sheriff Department announced deputies will conduct a multi-jurisdictional enforcement checkpoint targeting impaired drivers in Howard County today. Officers from the Kokomo Police Department and troopers from the Indiana State Polic

    August 22, 2014

  • Miami Co. jobless rate falls to 6-year low PERU – The unemployment rate in Miami County dropped to a six-year low in July but, despite the decrease, the county still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.Miami County’s unemployment rate slid from 7.2 percent in June to 6.9 pe

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS KT 082114 Debra Cook award LS Ivy Tech honors Debra Cook with Alumni Achievement Award Debra Cook had made up her mind to earn a master’s degree, though she knew it would be challenging while raising three children and working full-time.Ivy Tech Community College provided her the first step in achieving that goal, and earlier this mont

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • VFW commander injured in crash The post commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1152 suffered head and other injuries when he crashed his motorcycle Wednesday evening on East Lincoln Road.A Kokomo Police Department accident report stated Kenneth A. Fisher, 67, was riding a

    August 22, 2014

  • Lordeman + Ohio Accident 02 Woman seriously injured in Ohio Street crash A 42-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries Thursday afternoon after the van she was driving was struck head-on by a Jeep on North Ohio Street.Kokomo police at the scene said Holly DeWitt, 42, suffered multiple fractures to her arms and legs and h

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • City-Line Trolley 04 Riders see numerous benefits to City-Line Trolleys As Sharon Sanchez waits for the Red Line trolley to take her to work at Steak N’ Shake on South Reed Road, she can’t imagine her life without the busing system. Sanchez rides the bus to work from downtown to the south part of town and to events at Ch

    August 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • City-Line Trolley 03 City Line Trolley ridership up 31 percent Any questions about the demand for public transportation in Kokomo have been answered since the city expanded its routes for the City Line Trolley last July. The bus service has seen its passenger totals increase 31 percent since it added three new l

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle
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