Downtown Redevelopment

Plainfield's 2033 Downtown Redevelopment Conceptual Plan Q & A:

The Plainfield Town Council approved the Conceptual Plan in December, 2017. The essence of the plan as well as any updates or new information can be found here .
The information below is intended to explain why the Town has focused on redevelopment in the downtown area and to answer some of the top questions we have heard from residents.
Why Redevelopment?
1. To be proactive with development.   Developers have expressed interest in doing a mixed-use project in the downtown area.  Instead of letting them develop whatever product they want, the Town wants to be proactive and let the community drive, shape and form what the downtown will look like in 20 years.
2. To diversify our investment and opportunities. In recent years, the Town’s investment focus has been on the logistics sector within the Town, which has yielded significant private investment.  The Town wants to diversify its public investment throughout the Town while providing additional options for housing, retail and entertainment.
3. To encourage downtown renewal. Downtown is the heart of any community.  The Town wants to reinvest in and renew downtown by making it an active destination.  Activity will create opportunities for existing businesses while attracting new businesses as well.
4. To create an identity for Plainfield.  The Town wants to develop an identity for our downtown by encouraging a walkable, “village” type environment, which will serve as a social hub for our community.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Will the Town use eminent domain to take my property?
Individual members of the Town Council have stated they will not support using eminent domain to buy property for purely economic development reasons.  This redevelopment plan has significant public work that needs to be completed whether there is private development or not.  These public works include streets, sidewalks, parking facilities, water and sewer utilities, and storm drainage as well as creation of new amenities such as trails and green spaces.  The Town will use all reasonable efforts to obtain the property required for these public improvements.

2. We didn’t know about this plan.  When did you have public meetings?
The project consultants and Town officials held at least nine different public meetings where presentations were made and comments were heard.  Some of those were the regularly scheduled Redevelopment Commission meetings while others were held specifically for the purpose of receiving public feedback.  The advertised public meetings were as follows:
  • 5/1/2017, RDC inventory review  
  • 6/5/2017, RDC update 
  • 7/26/2017, 4-7pm, Farmer’s Market booth - estimated about 75 people 
  • 9/12/2017, 5-7pm at the Recreation Center, open house - 66 people signed in
  • 10/26/2017, 5-7pm at the Recreation Center, joint RDC and Council working session – 27 people signed in.  
  • 11/6/2017, 5:30pm RDC update 
  • 11/9/2017, 5-7pm at the Recreation Center, open house - 17 people signed in. 
  • 12/4/2017, 5:30pm RDC presentation and Plan Commission presentation 
  • 12/11/2017, 7pm, Council presentation
We know more people came to those meetings than signed in.  Furthermore, the town made Facebook posts about the planning process before the 7/26, 11/6 and 12/11 events that generated a good response within the comments.  The posted comments were collected and considered when developing the plan.  An abbreviated video of the 11/6 plan presentation was posted on Facebook.  Lastly, WishTV 8 did a story on the plan that ran in the evening news and the town posted that story on Facebook leading up the 12/11 meeting. The Town will continue to communicate the plan and seek public input through its implementation.

3. What is the Town going to do about the potential of displacing residents?
It is the Town’s desire that all current downtown residents within the redevelopment area be able to maintain residency in the area if they desire.  We recognize that some established residents may be displaced as part of the redevelopment effort.  The Town is committed to working with these residents and providing options and assistance with relocation.  Specific opportunities and details regarding relocation will be included in the information on the website.

4. If the property values go up, our taxes will go up.  Some can’t afford this.  What is the Town’s plan?
The Town understands that new development in the downtown area will likely increase property values in the affected area.  For most residents, this will be a welcome improvement. However, it is also understood that certain residents in the area are on fixed incomes and may be unable to reap the benefits of higher property values.  The Town is researching best practices across the country to alleviate this issue.  When appropriate, case studies and resources will be added to the website.

5. What about the historical structures in the area?
One of the great existing features of the downtown area is the historical character and the existence of structures that date back to early downtown developments.  The Town is committed to maintaining the historical look and feel of Main Street as much as possible by setting up zoning and architectural standards in the downtown area.  New development is expected to blend with and support the ongoing viability of these older structures as is feasible. While most of the identified redevelopment opportunities are outside the Town’s established Historic District, the Town acknowledges there are several residential structures within the study area which contribute to the historical nature of the area.  The plan identifies an area where these structures could be relocated if that became necessary.

6. How is the Town going to help businesses that are impacted?
One goal of redevelopment is to provide enticing opportunities for residents and visitors to experience the character of downtown, which includes existing businesses.  The plan should serve to support and help grow existing businesses in downtown business district. The Town will continue to work with businesses in the redevelopment area, such as Flapjacks, Dairy Queen, and others, to be included in the redevelopment plan and will provide those businesses information and access to available resources.

7. What is the timing of the development plan? Conceptual Downtown Redevelopment Plans are “living documents” that establish appropriate quality, character, scale, and materiality of projects that will contribute to the feel of Plainfield.  The consultants involved in this plan have estimated the full build-out of the plan to be 15-20 years.  An initial phasing plan has been developed and included as part of the Redevelopment Plan.  The Town will continue to refine the phasing of the public improvements and investment. As the phasing is determined, it will be posted to the website. The Town is working now on public infrastructure projects in the area, which may start as early as 2018.  Based on interest expressed by the development community, it is anticipated that the initial private investment by developers will coincide with the public investment.  The intent of the plan is to allow the private market to dictate the timing.  The Redevelopment Plan provides a guide for individual developer decisions.
8. How much will this cost the Town?
The Town is working with the consultants to determine the total cost.  There is aging infrastructure in the area which will require attention whether private development happens or not.  While the total Town investment potential is not known at this time, we have researched other communities who have gone through the same process.  For example, another Indiana community completed their downtown plan and leveraged $36MM in public investments in the first 5 years.  This investment has spurred over $200MM in private investment to date, with more to come soon. We believe a similar ratio of investment could emerge in Plainfield.  Once received by the design consultants, preliminary budgets for the various projects will be posted on the website.

9. How does this project impact the mall with additional retail options?
Retail operators/owners who choose to locate in new or revitalized downtown areas are typically not the same retailers who locate in shopping malls.  Customers within the downtown areas are often looking for a different shopping, dining or entertainment experience than the shopping mall provides.  The consultants on this project have indicated the development of retail options in the downtown area will only enhance the offerings in the Town by catering to a different clientele than those at the mall.

10. What about parking for the new developments?
The Town understands that parking in the downtown area is a sensitive issue.  While parking is essential to the viability of businesses in the area, large parking lots don’t allow for the intended density within the plan.  In many cases, structured parking (parking garages) will be considered as a viable option.  Furthermore, each development will be required to include a plan which addresses their own parking needs so they don’t consume the public spaces.  The revitalization of the streetscapes within the area will allow for more and safer parking, which will lend itself to the intended walkable, “village” feel of the area.

11. Is the Town interested in buying my property?
The Town has established a boundary for the redevelopment area which can be seen here (insert web link).  The Town is interested in talking with any land owners within the area who may be interested in selling their property.  The way the Town purchases property is strictly governed by Indiana State statutes in order to create a fair and transparent accounting process.  The Town may be interested in property located outside the Redevelopment Area as well.  Please contact the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Town of Plainfield, Stephanie Singh, to set up a meeting with Town Staff. She can be reached at 317-474-9489.