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Some Shelby County residents already know what’s going to be in the headlines in 20 years. They got to write them.
About 30 government officials, business owners and community members participated in exercises at a public workshop on Tuesday meant to get them thinking about the future of Shelbyville’s East End.
The meeting at the Stratton Community Center was the first step in the East End Study, a small area plan by the City of Shelbyville and the Triple S Planning Commission.
The plan will help create a vision for the future of the area, Mayor Tom Hardesty said.
“We have an opportunity to try to make a difference in the East End,” he said.
In one exercise, attendees were asked to fill in headlines in a newspaper with “big ideas” for the next 20 years of the East End, which extends from Fourth Street to Mount Eden Road.
Charlene Nation said she wrote about the opening of a bed and breakfast and other small businesses in the area.
Nation, who owns Avon for Guys and Dolls downtown, said she would like to see the East End become an extension of downtown.
“Small businesses, to me, are the backbone of a town,” she said.
Amy Williams and Scott Siefker of HTNB, the Louisville firm hired to create the plan, also showed residents various pictures of housing, businesses and other elements to generate discussion of what they would like to see in the area.
Williams said people were excited about the project, and when that happens it’s easier for government officials to get excited about it.
The look and feel of the streetscape seemed to be important to people, as was how land is used, she said.
Quintin Biagi, who serves on the steering committee for the study, said he was happy with the community participation at the meeting.
Biagi, an architect and Shelbyville resident, said he’d like to see the city work to help more small businesses get started. He said he would also like to see better access to an old baseball park in the north part of the area so it could be used again.
Williams said the next step in the study would be for HTNB to put together the ideas that residents shared on Tuesday. Then, they will present their plan at a public open house in September.
After public feedback from that meeting, the city could adopt the plan in November or December, she said.
But the plan is not legally binding, Williams said. It’s a guide or “road map” to help the city make decisions toward where they want the area to go, in terms of zoning, infrastructure, and other improvements.
Nation said she didn’t know what to expect from Tuesday’s meeting before she went, but she’ll “definitely be back” to hear the plan at the next meeting Sept. 8.