“If there is one thing we should be doing, it’s improving our main corridor through downtown,” Lake said. “It’s going to become more and more vital as [bridges are added], as RiverRidge continues to grow. It’s an incredible artery through town.”
Another ongoing plan that the administration has been attempting to move forward on is the Falls Landing project. The plan is to construct a retention pond near Ninth Street and Ohio Avenue to mitigate flooding downtown, with a plan to eventually have economic development and a park surround the area.
“This park is a little bit more than just a park itself,” Waiz said.
He explained that the city is in the process of securing a $500,000 Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant to pay for the retention pond. A walking path is planned for around the pond with the expectation that it will spur economic development nearby at 10th and Spring streets.
The goal is to have a hotel and restaurant potentially locate near the park, Waiz said. However, the $1 million price tag — half of which would come from the grant — for the project does not include future development and is only for the retention basin and area immediately adjacent.
City Grant Administrator Delynn Rutherford said part of the flood buyout requires a portion of the area to remain greenspace, where development could not occur.
Again, hesitations were offered on whether or not to seek funding from different sources for the plan.
“As the economy begins to turn around this just seems like this might be a perfect opportunity to revisit this and see what happens,” Redevelopment Commissioner Rob Stevens said, referring to seeking private development of the site.
Lake agreed and called retention pond an “amenity.” He added that the potential for the site makes it attractive, especially with the new bridges planned along the corridor, but that there are still some limitations of what could be developed near the proposed park.