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Redevelopment Initiative "Imagine Orleans" Begins

Last updated on Saturday, May 12, 2012

(ORLEANS) - The first step towards a new comprehensive redevelopment initiative entitled “Imagine Orleans” begun recently with an initial meeting held at the Orleans Town Hall of the newly created steering committee.

The creation of the steering committee marks the official start of a joint effort between the Orleans Chamber of Commerce and Town of Orleans.

Both groups recently signed off on a community assistance and immersive learning proposal by Community Based Projects (CBP), Ball State University.

Working with and guiding the planning committee will be Scott Truex, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Director of Community Based Project (CBP) from the College of Architecture and Planning.

The project overview includes working with community and business leaders, stakeholders and residents of Orleans over a period of the next several months and Ball State advanced architecture students & staff members to develop a detailed initiative for the historic downtown area. Orleans Chamber Executive Director and steering committee member Robert F. Henderson said this strategy will concentrate on reenergizing the downtown and hopefully provide a vision and roadmap for the future.

"We are very excited about the prospect of having a community "dialogue" of sorts about the future of our Hometown of Orleans on the "eve" of its 200th Birthday celebration, which will occur in just a few short years. " he said.

One of the highlights of the project will include a three day community charrette workshop to be held July 12-14 at the Orleans Christian Church's Unity Hall.

In addition to Henderson other initial steering committee members and community partners to date include Judy Boyer, Orleans Public Library; Randy Clark, Orange County Tourism; Cathy Hardin, Orange Co. Community Foundation, Misty Weisensteiner, Orange Co. Tourism; Dave Miller, Orleans Antiques; John F. Noblitt, The Progress Examiner; Mike Fields, Orleans Town Council; Pam Chapman, Duke Energy; Greg Sekula, Indiana Landmarks; Terry and Brenda Cornwell, Saving Historic Orange County (SHOC); Joe Timbrook, manager of Radius/Indiana; and Orange County Mainstreet.

Henderson said other individuals will also be asked to participate as it will be important to have all aspects of the community represented including the merchants, industries, schools, youth, churches, civic groups etc.

The committee will work closely with Truex meeting monthly to identify critical issues and determine community engagement process for the study, assist in the research, inventory and analysis phase, serve as a "host" for the charrette, and develop the strategies for implementation of the redevelopment strategy.

The project expense will be paid for in part by mini grants provided by a variety of community partners including a $13,000 grant secured through the Duke Energy Foundation to be used towards the community development portion of the study.

For more detailed information on the project contact Orleans Chamber, 865-9930 and/or Orleans Town Hall, 865-2539.

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