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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

MSA's O'Shea: 'We did get to get in the neighborhood and talk with a lot of residents'

The project was started following the Warren County Road Commission's decision to vacate the area, leaving six acres open for the city to use as it sees fit. The Council received a presentation from Shan O'Shea of MSA, the design firm aiding with the project. The plan is long-term and focused on development and isn't a construction plan set to begin in 2024. The city specifically wanted to develop some ideas regarding how to shape the open area moving forward.

The design process culminated in two final design concepts for the city to consider. The first was a blank-slate concept, which is a consideration of everything in the surrounding area that is either leaving or completely changing in the coming decades, as well as the neighborhood starting from scratch. The second is called the "Towers Concept", after the grain elevator standing in the area. Many ideas featuring the structure were considered, including one where it would be repurposed as housing since the structure itself is still in a good condition.

One plan aspect that will exist regardless of the surrounding structures is a long-term agreement with the National Heritage Foundation to create an unbroken bike trail through the neighborhood that connects to parks and other areas in town. No matter how the city moves forward, it will need to work with Heartland Co-op, a large business in the area, to shape the final plan. No residents made any comments during the public hearing, and the council members ultimately voted to pass the resolution.

"We did get to get in the neighborhood and talk with a lot of residents and business owners in that area to hear what they had to say," said O'Shea. "We had some really good conversations, some really good comments that we took from that and put that into the plan. We did a retail market analysis and then we did a housing analysis. Really, it was a snapshot of the city as a whole to see if there's a specific retail or commercial business that might be a good fit in town, could be a good fit in this area. And what types of housing in the next 20 years does the city of Indianola need because that could be maybe a good fit here as well."

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