Industrial Building near E. 10th & Mass Ave

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Yesterday, I went on a site visit for a project near E. 10th street and Mass Ave in Indy and thought that this building was pretty cool.

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Fishers Nickel Plate District Trail Project

Fishers Trail Project 116th Street (Image: IBJ.com 11/18/11)

Within the past couple weeks, the Fishers Nickel Plate District Trail Project has reappeared on my radar. I first saw the news story when it broke in the Indianapolis Business Journal last year in November. I recently came in contact with it again when I spoke with the person who works for the company responsible for the unique pavement techniques used in the project. Once I saw some of the pictures, I had to take a look myself. Continue reading

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Kokomo High School: Walter Cross Field Perimeter Improvements

As I was driving around town doing a survey of sorts, I wandered over by Kokomo High School and saw some really promising new construction around Walter Cross Field (football/track & field venue). Over the past couple years, the school built a new concession stand and locker room building as well as what I’m assuming is a utility building near the north side of the grandstand. This year, they recolored the new concession and locker room building to match the general color scheme of the school (yellow brick).

New facade color for the Concession/Locker room Building and new entrance building (Ross Pierce 7/5/12)

As you can see in the pictures, the new improvements are more of a two-tone tan color, but definitely blends well with the yellow brick of the school. It looks from the images and the construction at this stage, that the school will be adding parking (justifiably needed if you’ve ever been to a football game there) along Berkley Road, and reorienting the main entrance of the field to the corner of the school drive and Berkley. It also looks as though by the many stone pillars, that the school is forking out some cash on the perimeter fencing.

New Entrance area near the school drive and Berkley Road. (Ross Pierce 7/5/12)

I am confident that the new improvements will definitely give Walter Cross Field a much needed update and will be something the school and community can be proud of for many years to come. I’ll either update or create a follow up picture post once construction moves along further.

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Kokomo Construction Roundup: June 2012

Downtown Kokomo

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Outreach Building

Library Outreach Building (Ross Pierce 6/21/12)

This project has moved along pretty quickly and it seems as though the building exterior is finished as of June 19th, 2012, and only site improvements and construction internally is left for the building. The structure, at the southeast corner of Mulberry and Market Streets, was designed to house the bookmobile vehicles as well as the outreach and collection departments.

Senior Housing Development

Project Sign on Site (5/13/12)

As of the last downtown update, the site was cleared and is ready for the next stage of construction. The 54-unit, $9 million project won a $900,000 tax break earlier this year in March. No set construction start date has been publicized.

Close-up of the rendering on the project sign (Ross Pierce 5/13/12)

PNC Bank Building Facade Improvements

PNC Bank Before (Google Street View)

PNC Bank After (6/21/12)

The PNC Bank Building (northwest corner of Buckeye & Mulberry) Facade renovation is complete and looks quite familiar. There wasn’t much change to the building, just a little bit of updating. Unfortunately, they removed the metal grating that was over the entrance and mixed styles making the building look as if it has dual personalities of a typical Midwestern elementary school (the coordination of the brick and the 1950’s era windows) and an Italian-inspired seaside villa (The Roman arches and columns over the entrance). It does looks clean and updated, but in my opinion it is a toss-up as to whether the improvements are a welcomed change.

Jackson Street Commons

This project is set to break ground on June 28, 2012, and will provide 27 units for homeless veterans. The site is near the intersection of Jackson Street and Market on the northeast corner of downtown Kokomo. The rendering of the project looks promising, although the break in pattern of the windows between the first and upper floors makes me wonder why the developer didn’t continue the window pattern. Given the illustration I’m assuming that the inside of the building was designed then later they turned to design the outside the building, when both the inside and outside should be designed simultaneously. Overall, I’m interested in this new development. The density is exactly what downtown Kokomo needs, and this project is on a site which previously was mostly underdeveloped.

Jackson Street Commons Rendering (Image from Family Service Association of Howard County)

Around Town

Industrial Heritage Trail

This summer, the city extended the trail nearly an additional mile south and improved many of the roadway/trail intersections with new curbs and other traffic calming methods. By the end of the construction season this year, the Industrial Heritage Trail should travel under the US31 bridge over the Kokomo Creek and end near the Hampton Inn & Suites on the southeast side of US31.

New Mural along the Industrial Heritage Trail (Ross Pierce 6/21/12)

Walk of Excellence

On the edge of downtown in Foster Park, the Washington Street Pedestrian & Bike Underpass was reconstructed with more gradual slopes, wider walkways, a new sitting/outlook area with the plan to add new landscaping and paint on the Washington Street Bridge. Also within Foster Park, landscaped medians were built in-between the trail and the access drive, making a better separation between trail users and vehicles.

Washington Street Pedestrian & Bike Underpass (Ross Pierce 6/21/12)

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Downtown Kokomo – Project Park Bench 2012

This month, artist design benches have shown up within downtown Kokomo. The Kokomo Perspective notes that the artists’ theme was “reinvention” and can be seen in many of the benches and were in accordance with the Kokomo Artisan Experience earlier this month. Some benches deciphered reinvention as the improvement of technology bringing a brighter future, while other benches toted earth-friendly and sustainable methods of reinvention.

The benches will be relocated throughout town in city parks and along multi-use paths such as the Industrial Heritage Trail and the Wildcat Walk of Excellence. The timing and theme is somewhat ironic as Mayor Greg Goodnight had interviews and taping this week with CNN Money’s Poppy Harlow on the resurgence of Kokomo in this rough economy.

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Changes to come.

I’ve decided to widen my blogging horizons.

The original intent of this blog was to become an outlet for design ideas and critiques of projects within my hometown of Kokomo, Indiana and some select projects in neighboring towns. As I’ve come to realize, I’d like to write about much more than just development specific to one city and have decided to redefine my blogging persona.

I will be changing this blog’s url sometime in the near future and will attempt to tackle a wider variety of topics. From at home DIY projects that I’ve been working on, events that I attend, quality of life issues, and of course my critique on the urban environment and new development projects. Essentially, I want to break through much of the blogger’s block that I’ve been experiencing with Kokomotive.

This isn’t an end to Kokomo-related blog entries. I don’t intend to turn my back on the origins of this blog, but to expand into new topics and locations. I’m still brainstorming on topic ideas for blogging, so tweet at me (@ross_pierce) or comment below on what areas that you think I should cover and I’ll try and think of my own personal take on that subject.

Hey Walgreen’s, This is an unacceptable a bike rack

A few days ago, I decided to take the scenic route on my way home from work. On my way to my house, I decided to stop into Walgreen’s to buy a drink for when I got home. I locked my bike to an obviously unattached bike rack only because I decided I could run into the store, buy my drink and get back outside before anyone could possibly steal my bike (and the bike rack). When I came back outside, my bike was still there (phew!) but I decided to take a better look at the bike rack. Not only is the rack not attached to any surface, it was somewhat lightweight. I could pick it up if I wanted to. Below is a picture of the bike rack in question.

This is a perfectly good example of what I would call an unacceptable bike rack. Since it is in the parking lot, someone could easily drive by in a pickup truck, get out and pick up a bike with the bike rack attached. Secondly, this does not shed positive light to its owner. It looks as though they took a railing and welded it to a rusted metal window frame. Not to mention also, should an employee want to ride their bike to work, the bike could still get easily stolen without taking the bike rack. This type of bike rack makes it hard to lock the BODY of the bike so the WHEEL is the one getting locked to this structure. Most bikes nowadays have quick release mechanisms. Mine takes seconds to remove the front tire.

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Kokomo Construction Roundup: March 2012

It was a beautiful day yesterday and after work I decided to go on a long bike ride. On that ride, I decided to go take a look at how some of the known construction projects downtown are developing. For the first time in what seems like my whole entire life, Kokomo has many different projects going on downtown at the same time. Here are three of the projects that have visible changes as of 3/6/12. As the construction season begins, this list will grow to include some of the other downtown development news.

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library Outreach Building

My first stop was the Outreach Building for the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library. To my surprise, the building is coming along quite quickly. You can see that as of yesterday the building’s supports are in place and the shear mass of a building is starting to take shape. From the elevation images and the articles that I’ve come across, the building won’t be a design icon in the downtown district. Although it won’t be the most beautiful building, it does provide density to a block where a parking lot previously sat.  It does provide a good street wall to both Market and Mulberry Streets, which helps enclose the street and promotes walkability. One of the MAJOR design flaws is how close the building is to the neighboring structures and doesn’t fit in well with the previously existing urban fabric in that area. The building’s orientation is exactly how I would have designed it, but I would have had more visible facade changes to mimic the existing look and feel of the surrounding structures. This is just a cookie cutter building that doesn’t provide much value and similar if not exact replicas of this structure could be found in an infinite number of communities in the world.

More on the Library Outreach Building is here in a Kokomo Tribune article.

Senior Housing Development

The Senior Housing development that I’ve previously highlighted on this blog, got some great news recently that will help get this project rolling. According to the most recent Kokomo Perspective and Kokomo Tribune newspapers, the St. Mary Development Corp. received a federal rental housing tax credit of $900,429 in addition to a $250,000 loan both from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Within the past couple weeks, the site has been cleared and the old Hoosier Wholesale building was demolished. Site prep is ongoing and construction should begin on the $9 million project this July with a completion date in 2013.

PNC Bank Facade Improvement

Another urban design improvement downtown is the facade improvement of the PNC bank at the corner of Mulberry and Buckeye Streets. This one has a bit of mystery behind it as I have no idea how the end result will turn out. If a certain development firm is in control of it, I’m sure it will end badly, disastrous, ugly or  tasteless. I’ll get more into that in a blog entry at a later date… As for right now all we have is the facade with orange fencing near the base awaiting for construction.

Not exactly a “downtown” project but I am most certainly excited for the extension of the Industrial Heritage Trail: The current southern terminus (Boulevard) pictured below facing south to the potential future IHT extension.

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Say No to S.O.P.A. and P.I.P.A.

I’ve always believed that we should live without censorship. I Strongly oppose of both the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the “Protect IP Act”

How SOPA could affect you

SOPA, PIPA What you need to know

Make the Call – Stop the Wall

UPDATE: Sycamore Commons Convenience Store proposed for “Manetoowa” Parcel

"Manetoowa" sitting in front of the proposed site (Image: http://www.waymarking.com)

According to a article in the Kokomo Tribune on 12/20/11, Fortune Management is proposing to build a convenience store on the lot where the Indian Maiden statue is currently located. The development could provide everyday necessities that would normally not be within walking distance for people living east of downtown. The project is also located at an important automobile and bicycling route within downtown Kokomo, which “ups the stakes,” creating certain expectations on a currently empty site. Continue reading

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