Batesville City Council members discussed the possibility of a first responders pavilion downtown Nov. 11.
After suggesting the idea a few months ago, member Jim Fritsch said he had talked with Tim Macyauski, director of operations, who oversees buildings and streets, and his crew who would do the work if the structure was approved. He requested $7,500 from the Belterra Fund to pay for it.
The councilman would like to see the bike park and pergola area in between Main, East Pearl, Park and George streets, remodeled to have a roofed structure as well as green space. “With the roof and shade, we’ll get more use out of it.”
In 2014, Batesville Main Street and the city received a matching grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs for the streetscape project. “Main Street (officials) are fine with us doing this,” Fritsch said. “We could move it (bike park and pergola), but I don’t know where else to put it.”
Mayor Mike Bettice wondered if the project was even possible due to grant requirements. Economic development director Sarah Lamping said she could look into that, but added, “When we worked on that structure, it was built with the idea if we did want to move it, that was something we could take advantage of as long as it wasn’t eliminated.”
Member John Irrgang said, “I applaud Jim for all his efforts and the first responder monument is worthy, but I personally don’t want to spend money on it .... George Street is the most traditional street we have. If we don’t consider building something where that parking lot is, we’re missing a great economic opportunity.”
President Kevin Chaffee liked Fritsch’s idea. “What we have out there now is pretty much useless, and this is not that much money.”
Councilman Tracy Rohlfing noted, if passed, “this will take about a third of what is in the Belterra Fund. Since we haven’t received our last payment for the year yet, maybe we should wait until spring to take a vote .... If we vote on it now, I’m going to vote no.”
Member Darrick Cox added, “I’m with Tracy in waiting until we get another Belterra donation.”
Clerk-Treasurer Paul Gates said, “There’s never been any indication we aren’t getting it (money from Belterra).”
Cox pointed out, “I think we’re all in agreement that it (the bike park area downtown) needs to be improved. I just think we need to wait till spring” before deciding anything.
Former city intern Bill Giltz reported, “When I worked with Sarah (Lamping) in 2014” to make plans for that area, “we wanted to create a sense of community downtown.” With the pergola, “we tried to create that Norman Rockwell feel of Christmas on the square. That’s why it’s in the middle of the parking lot.
“It’s not going to hurt our feelings if it gets refurbished ... (but) every time I go by there in the summer, there are always kids sitting there. People are utilizing it, but maybe not on sunny days .... It’s only in the ground with four posts, so it can be moved easily.”
Lamping revealed, “Back when we were resurrecting the Main Street program, the huge initiative was placemaking and quality of space .... You may have noticed the community has begun the conversation of saying, ‘I’ll meet you at the bike park’ instead of ‘I’ll meet you downtown.’ That’s placemaking.”
Members agreed to put the project on hold and discuss it more next year.