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'Good, honest connections are our goal'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

(Photo)
DePauw University President Brian Casey addresses a crowd of community members and students Tuesday night at Greencastle's City Hall. Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK
GREENCASTLE -- DePauw University president Brian Casey emphasized community and campus bonding as part of the university's strategic plan as he addressed students and members of the community at City Hall Wednesday night.

"Good, honest connections are our goal in creating an intentional partnership," he said.

While there was no long-term plan for the campus when he arrived as president of the university, Casey said he hopes that within the next 20 to 40 years DePauw and Greencastle can bridge the gap between campus and the community.

"If we're working well, we're working well with this city," he said.

Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray echoed Casey in introducing his presentation.

"The greatest thing is to work together to find partnerships," she said.

Casey focused the discussion toward the five goals of the plan, among which include a restored academic precinct, lively precinct of connection and activity, strong student neighborhoods, a clear arrival to the Admissions Building and creating better connections to Greencastle and the Nature Park.

Putting up more signs leading to and from campus, planting more trees to give it a more historic feel and constructing a formal entrance on Anderson Street leading from the east off U.S. 231 -- which would involve changing it from a one-way street to a two-way street -- and better connecting campus to the Nature Park are all part of the proposed effort.

The university is working with Ayres Saint Gross architecture firm based out of Baltimore, and after observing DePauw's campus, developed a list of recommendations to enhance the campus community partnership in the coming years.

Casey said the projects would require new funds from the university, although he did not have an estimate as to how much they would cost.

"More money than we have," he said.

Casey said the development firm was surprised that cars are allowed to dominate pedestrians in the middle of campus, which has had a rebound effect of destroying natural paths that people walk.

"Great colleges have campuses where people bump into each other," he said.

One resident proposed taking the bookstore off campus and moving it to the former location of Fine Print downtown.

Casey also emphasized that if there were a need to develop more student housing that it would be completed on property the university already owns north of Seminary Street.

Casey also mentioned learning about the demolition of two properties on Bloomington Street across from Robe-Ann Park, which is now owned by Putnam County Comprehensive Services, earlier Thursday evening and said the university has no plans to purchase it, nor did the plans call for the acquisition of any new property in town.

"Cities are healthier if multiple building owners because it provides for more voices and flexibility," he said.

Other proposals from audience members included linking the signage between People Pathways, downtown and the university as well as bonding members of the community in showing young people what they do.

"What can you imagine that businesses chain between campus and the city square that would be pleasing to the community? Or what would be displeasing to you?" Casey asked audience members. "We want to be great neighbors.

"We're a great college town. How do we enrich that?"


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This is a good start in the right direction.

-- Posted by localman on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 6:07 AM

"As Casey announced the demolition of two properties on Bloomington Street across from Robe-Ann Park, he said the university has no plans to purchase it, nor did the plans call for the acquisition of any new property in town. "

Very confusing. Did Depauw have these building demolished? If not, why is Casey announcing their demolition. What does this have to do with the story. Old adage, "Good fences make good neighbors"

Greencastle isn't Depauw and Depauw isn't Greencastle. Though there is a certain symbiotic relationship each is a unique entity and should stay that way.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 7:43 AM

So Casey says that the projects are for "More money than we have." How long before he's at a city council meeting asking for funds to improve his campus.

-- Posted by hometownboy on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 7:48 AM

I agree with hometownboy. All these plans are fantastic, but it should not come at a cost to taxpayers of this community. Property taxes already went up this year. I can't afford any more tax hikes. Saying that they can't afford all these new aspects of campus, but not saying where they plan to get the funds is another way of saying we want to ask for taxpayer money. This idea that Casey wants to bridge the gap between Depauw and Greencastle is a fancy way to say, "You are going to have to help pay for all this." I do not know how everyone else feels about this, but I for one can see a lot of city streets and sidewalks that need repaired, but it is apparent we going to continue to let them deteriorate.

At this point in time with everything else that is going on around us, why would I want to contribute to renovations to make Depauw more attractive and beautiful than it already is. Meanwhile, leaving the rest of us city grunts in economic shambles.

I think at this point if Depauw wants to renovate and innovate its campus they need to look at Alumni and current parents of students attending Depauw. I am a Purdue graduate, I have no ties to Depauw and I could care less if is beautiful and more accessible for students. As far as widening streets, I think the students of this University should be smart enough not to get hit by a car.

Greencastle residents shouldn't have to bear the brunt of these plans in order to make an already great life for Depauw students better.

One last thought.....Of course Mayor Murray is in favor and excited about these plans....Depauw played a major role in getting her elected. If Depauw wants to expand, pay for it out of University funds.

-- Posted by ynm_gop on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 8:22 AM

It would be interesting to know who besides the mayor and the League of Women Voters were present at this meeting to represent "the community". Town and gown relations have always been lukewarm at best and cold at worst. I hope Casey is sincere in his desire to improve relations with Greencastle. DePauw is an asset to the community in a lot of ways, but is not perceived that way by a lot of people.

-- Posted by not gullible on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 9:13 AM

blah,blah,blah,blah,blah.

-- Posted by headlettuce on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 9:25 AM

Very difficult to find a parking space on the campus in order to attend a public event.

-- Posted by Foxridge on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 9:56 AM

The best thing that could be done with the

University would be to build a "walk over" on

South Jackson St. for the students to get

across to go to Blackstock. This is

something that doesn't sit well with the

"townies".

-- Posted by Voter on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 9:56 AM

While this article doesn't specifically address money (and it may not have been addressed in more detail in the meeting - I wasn't there), President Casey has mentioned in many public settings that he intends to start a capital campaign from the alumni for funding campus improvements.

For the town-campus connections (such as improving sidewalks between campus & downtown), he and Mayor Murray have discussed possible state grant money as an option.

-- Posted by new here on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 10:56 AM

I don't know any of the financial planning involved, but it is silly to jump to the conclusion that Greencastle will incur the expense of DePauw CAMPUS Improvements. However, in bridging the gap, DePauw is a great benefit to the city and wouldn't it seem a given that the city would fund specific non-campus improvements. And, in the long run the city, in addition to DePauw, benefits from the overall strategic plan, right?

PS - Purdue grad..."...couldn't care less..."

-- Posted by BG-reader on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 10:57 AM

BG-Reader.....Please don't take my comments out of context. I think that Depauw is great for the city of Greencastle. I was not suggesting that I do not care about Greencastle or Depauw. I was simply stating that this is not the time for Greencastle to chip in on Depauw improvements. The words spoken by Casey suggests that they have some money, they are trying to solicit more from Alumni, and will need taxpayer money as well. I was stating that there are many improvements around the city that need to be made before we give money to Depauw. For instance this summer I broke my ankle on the sidewalk in front of my house because my sidewalk is in desperate need of repair. I want my sidewalk and many others to be fixed before the Depauw campus is made to be a utopia. (Its not just about sidewalks....) I guess what I'm saying is do things that benefit actual taxpayers first. Many residents do not utilize anything Depauw offers for whatever reason.

Let Depauw take of Depauw and Greencastle take care of Greencastle, at some point inevitably we will meet in the middle. City residents are happy, Depauw is happy.

BG Reader.....Please do not be naive enough to think that he wasn't there to solicit funds from the city of Greencastle. I do however enjoy the constructive debate. Have a good one.....

-- Posted by ynm_gop on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 12:17 PM

I'm a depauw grad and I'm from this county and have lived here all of my life. Depauw relies on alumni donations/endowments/grants. They are not taking your property taxes and they are not trying to steal money from Greencastle. I'm so sick of Greencastle residents complaining about everything they do not understand. I have seen both sides and people in this town complain about everything even when they have no idea what they are talking about. If you want to KNOW DePauw's plan, then go to the website and look it up.

-- Posted by HelloKitty106 on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 3:31 PM


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