The Washington Times-Herald

November 23, 2013

City unveils plans for I-69 land usage

By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — Dozens of community members met in the city council chambers Thursday evening to hear about the proposed I-69/U.S. 50 land use plan. Boards displaying the plans were available for the public to view before a presentation by American Structure Point, the consultant on the project, detailing the ideas was given.

Mayor Joe Wellman explained to those in attendance that the plan was only a proposal and the plans could change as needed. The nearly 2,200 acres involved in the proposed project lies along the interstate interchanges. The proposal made recommendations on land use, infrastructure including housing and office options, design standards and other strategies.

The area has been divided into several development areas, with the northern third being industrial and the southwestern portion being a mix of single and multi-family homes. Office space would fall between the industrial areas and the residential areas. Conservation areas were also part of the plan as well as a large area in the southeastern quadrant that was left for future developments.

Presenters from American Structure stressed that the proposal includes both long and short-term steps that will have to be taken to make the ideas come to life.

"This is not something that can just sit on a shelf and look good," Jan Schuler-Hicks, who helped to facilitate the plans. "It has to be implemented."

American Structure said that making the ideas proposed a reality would mean that the area needs to be marketed. "People are talking about Washington, Ind., and they knew about this area before the tornadoes hit," said one of the American Structure presenters.

Before the proposal can be put in motion, the plan will have to be approved by the city plan commission and then be approved by the city council as an amendment to its current comprehensive land use plan.

Wellman also mentioned that improvements would be made to Business 50 including a roundabout, which would be the first one in the county but discussions between the city and INDOT were still ongoing.