Bargersville Downtown Renovation Spurs Investment, Quality of Life
Bargersville is taking aggressive steps to improve its downtown, reaping a variety of benefits for residents and investors alike.
“Bargersville’s downtown has seen a lot of activity recently — streets repaved, new sidewalks installed, new lighting planned,” said Vice President of Economic Development Amanda Rubadue, CEcD. “The former Red’s Place has been purchased and will be redeveloped as a new restaurant. Investment by the town triggers private investment, increased quality of life and community pride.”
Rubadue added that such improvements provide Aspire members an opportunity to invest in downtown Bargersville and brings attention to the downtown area.
Susie Qualls, Bargersville Town Council member, explained: “There’s been a lot of activity in our historic downtown area the past several years. State Route 144 as well as Main and Baldwin streets have been repaved with decorative crosswalks through the state’s Community Crossing Grants program,” Qualls said. “During the construction, Bargersville took the opportunity to make improvements to its utility infrastructure and added a walking trail from Route 144 to downtown. Sidewalks and accessibility ramps have been added or improved, and decorative lighting will be added in the near future.”
Why is Bargersville doing this? “The heartbeat of any community is its downtown. Our goal is to create an area where commercial, cultural, educational and community engagement are concentrated. Connectivity of our residents to the downtown is a critical component, therefore the trails are a high priority,” Qualls said.
“Private investors are already taking notice of the town’s recent improvements and investment in our downtown,” she added. “Several new businesses and expanded ones are already in the works. The redevelopment commission is also active in providing incentives to private investors to spur our future growth and development.”
These improvements will improve the quality of life for Bargersville residents, Qualls noted. “The demographics of Bargersville have changed considerably in the last 10 years and our community’s residents are looking for different amenities,” she explained. “They want the ability to walk or bike safely throughout our town. They want the ability to attend a farmer’s market or an event or concert or to grab a beer or a bite to eat without having to drive 15-20 minutes to a neighboring community. Individuals have decided to invest in the community with their purchase of homes and, as a town, we should always be working toward improvements.”
“Our goal is to create a vibrant, economically thriving area for residents and visitors to our community to enjoy, an area where there are options for dining, shopping, living and entertainment,” she added. “My hope is that as the community starts seeing progress and investment in the look and feel of our downtown, its sense of pride will only increase.”
Qualls wrapped up by noting that she is dedicated to development of Bargersville’s central core. “I have been passionate about our community and the revitalization of the downtown since I started with the Bargersville Main Street organization about 7 years ago. I would attend Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs events and see what other communities were doing and listen to their challenges and success stories. The whole time I’d be sitting there thinking to myself, ‘That could be Bargersville. Now how do we get there?’ she recalled.”
“I have never doubted Bargersville’s potential. I’ll never forget the first day of our farmer’s market. The streets were packed. The restaurants were lined up outside with people waiting to eat. The whole downtown had a completely different vibe and energy, which was so exciting,” Qualls added. “It was truly amazing to see the economic impact of one event unfold onto a community. That feeling only fueled my passion for downtown development.”
Rubadue concluded, “We’ve seen it happen all over, when communities invest in their downtowns, it triggers more interest and private investment there. Downtowns can be a catalyst for creating community. Having walkable, shared spaces brings people and their dollars from outside the community and creates community pride in those who live there.”
President and CEO Christian Maslowski added that one of the goals of Aspire’s 5-year economic development strategy is to embrace and pursue opportunities for enhanced livability and quality of place. “We wholeheartedly support Bargersville’s efforts to improve its downtown and are excited to support the town council’s vision for the future.”