Chelsea Schneider, Municipal Innovations Specialist, Aim

Fairmount’s downtown is receiving a big boost through a revitalization project. And those aesthetic improvements, including new sidewalks, street pavement and light fixtures helped the town win a first-of-its-kind grant to launch a celebration of its urban core during the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affair’s Downtown Development Week in October.

The northern Indiana town is already on the map as the hometown of actor James Dean. But town leaders are hoping to further cement Fairmount as a destination by bringing in new businesses, retailers and restaurants to downtown. A key step in that process is the improvements made possible by a $500,000 Main Street Revitalization grant from the state. Additionally, Fairmount’s local Main Street organization is raising funds to add to those improvements with new benches, planters and other features.

The goal is to draw more people into the community, Fairmount Clerk-Treasurer Jo Ann Treon said.

“I can hardly wait to see it all put together,” Treon said.

The work will culminate in early October when Fairmount hosts a downtown festival to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the revitalization project.

“We want to make it a celebration where not only different ages in the community have a chance to participate but where people want to come and be a part of the celebration,” said Ramonda Pemberton, vice president of Main Street Fairmount. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Town officials already are thinking about additional phases of Main Street improvements, including turning the site of a demolished building into a community gathering spot.

“This really aligns to our mission and vision to bring the community into the downtown area where they want to shop and support businesses and get engaged in activities and festivals,” Pemberton said. “Just make it a real community feel, so that people don’t want to go outside of our town to find something for entertainment.”

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