HOBART - A draft version of a revitalized downtown Hammond was shared Thursday at the annual One Region luncheon at the Avalon Manor in Hobart.
The "Times" reports the organization's President and CEO Leah Konrady led a discussion with nationally known urban planner, Jeff Speck and two former Grand Rapids, Michigan, officials on their experiences with redeveloping downtowns.
Speck, is currently leading the downtown planning in Hammond. He talked to the attendees about the market for mixed-use downtowns with relatively dense housing, what is driving its need and the side benefits, including reduced carbon production.
Speck told the crowd that that renewed downtowns should have the goal of making walking useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. Cities should encourage bicycling, minimize expansive parking lots and use buildings and build infrastructure to create defined spaces that welcome public gathering. He also said that housing is underrepresented in downtowns, and bringing it back would boost business, safety and quality of life.
The downtown Hammond renovation recommends making Hohman Avenue a city centerpiece. The plan recommends creating a linear plaza with the street split in the center for parking and greenspace.
The draft plan rests significantly on a downtown Hammond train station for the West Lake Corridor commuter rail line, and on demand for housing.