Chelsea Schneider, Innovations Content Manager, Aim
Yorktown leaders cast a bold vision for the community’s downtown.
They wanted downtown to serve as the social-economic hub of Yorktown. And they wanted to create a destination, where residents and visitors alike can enjoy a growing menu of amenities, such as gastropubs, and an intergenerational sense of place where kids, parents and grandparents can all come and enjoy a culture that’s unique to Yorktown.
Known for its strong schools and the vast community park Morrow’s Meadow, Yorktown officials decided to take those strengths and focus on the town’s future. Now, several projects are in the works to revitalize the downtown’s urban core to make it even more so the center of the community.
“The council has really made a push to redevelop downtown and reinvest in downtown, so we can create a quality-of-life, quality-of-place initiative in our community and do it in a very sustainable way,” said Pete Olson, Yorktown town manager.
Yorktown is constructing a new town hall to serve as an anchor of the downtown. The town hall, Olson said, is a prominent piece of the revitalization efforts and is strategically placed to promote growth in the western end of downtown. The building also will have meeting space for community groups to use, as well as the capacity to centrally locate town functions, including the police department.
Paired with the town hall is a streetscape project to further incentivize business growth and additional residential housing by promoting walkability. The expectation is the streetscape project will act as a catalyst for more restaurants to move into the area. What’s more, the town is planning to construct a bridge to link the improvements to the recreational opportunities of Morrow’s Meadow where a majority of community celebrations are held.
Adding to the efforts, town leaders also plan to install a civic green to host farmers markets and other community events around the new town hall. Where a lot of communities benefit from being a county seat, Yorktown doesn’t have a traditional downtown square. So, town leaders are designing a space to function as the downtown gathering spot for community events. The space also will be equipped with a street that can be closed off to accommodate larger festivals.
Through the projects, Olson said Yorktown leaders are dedicated to preserving the town’s identity. They aren’t trying to become the next Carmel or Fishers. However, there are positives of those communities he hopes Yorktown can emulate.
“Those are communities where people want to go and spend some money and some dollars,” Olson said. “We want to encourage that to go on in our community as well. We want it to be Yorktown. We want people to know when they come to Yorktown they can find amenities they are looking for.”
The projects show a commitment to enhancing quality of life, while balancing the day-to-day tasks of town officials, Olson said. The focus is on creating neat places where people want to gather with their friends and families and opportunities for businesses to see success.
“Really it’s being that hub where people want to go,” Olson said.