Group examines city's infrastructure

Friday, February 20, 2009

A group of city leaders, residents and students gathered at the Putnam County Public Library Thursday for the Greencastle's first Infrastructure Core Group meeting.

The second core group to emerge from last August's Community Forward Summit, the infrastructure group is setting its sights on the city's basic foundations, utilities, services and places and spaces.

The goal of the group is to focus on Greencastle's infrastructure, including utilities, streets, sidewalks, parks and neighborhoods. In examining these things, the group spoke about what is working well for Greencastle and what could use improvement.

Through all this, the group plans to determine what the city's major infrastructure needs are and find ways to address them.

After Mayor Sue Murray had welcomed the 15 or so gathered citizens, City Planner Shannon Norman spoke about the basic definitions of infrastructure, ultimately defining it as the "support systems for the basic needs of the community."

Norman went on to talk about what infrastructure projects are already in progress or completed around the city. These include the sidewalk and street overlay projects, downtown redevelopment, the Albin Pond Trail/Safe Routes to School project, Ivy Tech, Big Walnut Sports Park and the DePauw Nature Park, to name a few.

Having discussed the successes the city has had and continues to have, the group moved on to future project ideas. These included further improvements to courthouse square, integration of the city, updating the city's comprehensive plan, unsafe buildings and defining specific neighborhoods.

Additionally, when asked what the city's most critical infrastructure need was, Murray made no hesitation.

"Water is the most critical issue facing us," she said.

The city currently has a second well field and future plans include running second feeder line to the water plant to account for further growth and provide redundancy for potential water main breaks.

Before the meeting's end, Putnam County Economic Development Director Bill Dory made sure the picture painted of the city was not bleak. Certainly there are always improvements to be made, but the city's infrastructure is currently strong.

"Despite the fact that we need to do some things, as a small town of 10,000 people, we have invested in our community over the years. We are ahead of other communities of our size," Dory said.

Norman also made sure to tell everyone to share the information from the meeting with their fellow citizens.

"Information is useless if it's not shared," she said.

The group will continue to meet in future months to expand on their initial talks on the city's infrastructure. Anyone interested in becoming part of the group or expressing their infrastructure concerns may contact Norman at 653-7719 or Murray at 653-3100.

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