There are major plans underway for the large green building on the northeast corner of the Columbia-Pearl streets intersection in Union City. The building, which has been vacant for several years, most recently housed a flea market and auction house. Many local residents remember it as a drug store.
Union City, Ind., mayor Chad Spence detailed plans for the structure at a recent city council meeting. During his campaign, Spence said one of his main focuses was going to be on downtown revitalization.
As a result, he outlined his objectives for what he has dubbed “Vision Corner.” He alluded to its long history as part of the downtown and the fact it could serve as an anchor location.
“It has a deep history to it and represents the heart of our downtown,” the mayor said. “We’re working with the Ball State (BSU) communications department, working on telling the story. You’ve always got to be able to tell your story.”
Spence said the efforts to revitalize the structure will be multi-faceted.
“We need to play on our strengths - tremendous schools, the KISS program,” he continued. “You’ve got a strength, you play to it.”
He said initial work with the BSU students was set for spring of this year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has delay ed progress. Both BSU communications and architecture students will be assisting with the project.
“The architecture students will be helping with the design,” Spence elaborated. “It (the building) has a lot of intricate detail to it.”
He said the project will include a state-of-the-art studio for KISS, a stylish Internet cafe and a site for the Apache store at Union City High School.
“I envision a plan for an educational hub,” he added.
The initial construction work will focus on the exterior and will entail securing a portion of the building, adding downspouts and gutters, painting with historic colors, adding awnings and other minor improvements.
“The painting with historic colors will really make it pop,” the mayor enthused.
The improvements will ultimately include the upstairs apartments. This effort will include performing a detailed inspection, a cleanup and renovation, with the end result being transformation of the apartments into suites.
Council members approved the city funding of about $24,000 to provide the city’s share to purchase the building. The balance of the $93,000 purchase price will be provided by a Rural Development grant of more than $68,000.
City officials are working with an engineering and planning firm in an effort to secure additional grant funding for continuing study and construction as the project moves forward.
“We’re combining state and federal grants to target all the grants we can,” Spence said;
Another visible improvement in the area where an apartment building was torn down on the southwest corner of the Pearl-Howard streets intersection, adjacent to the American Legion post, is moving forward.
The east end of the Legion post has already been painted black and trimmed in gold in anticipation of the creation of a veterans’ park. The area is an ideal location due to being between the historic Arts Depot and Artisan Crossing area.
“There will be a mural of soldiers from each war and a statue made in South Dakota of one soldier carrying another,” the mayor said. “It’s goin g to be a really neat corner when done.”
Council members also approved a bid of $14,721 for construction of a covered bridge in Harter Park. The bridge, which will measure 80 feet long by 28 feet wide, will be decorated as part of the p a rk’s ever expanding Christmas light display.
The next Union City, Ind., city council meeting will be 6 p.m. July 13 in council chambers.