Category Archives: Architecture

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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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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60-Unit IUK Student Housing Complex Approaches Next Hurdle

Potential style of what student housing across from IUK (Image: Kokomo Perspective)

Mecca Companies of South Bend wishes to build a 60-unit student housing complex across the street from Indiana University Kokomo. The project is up for approval with the zoning board for a special exemption and setback variances. If the project moves forward, this would improve IUK’s desireability for prospective freshmen as well as improving the quality of life for current IUK students, which could mean added future development and economic stimulation.

The owner, Annex of Kokomo LLC is asking for variances for setbacks for the front and the rear, a driveway separation variance and a buffer variance on the south and west sides of the property. If the project clears the zoning board hurdle the proposed $7 million 60-unit housing complex could be completed as early as August 2012. Continue reading

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5 Screen Movie Theater coming to Peru, IN

Peru's Roxy 5 Movie Theater (Image: Kokomo Tribune)

As you might have realized with An Indianapolis Festival Day, I’m trying to branch out slightly in the world of blogging, I’m also going to attempt to branch out geographically. So for this post, I took a better look at the new 5 screen movie theater coming to Peru, Indiana.

For those of you who read the local newspapers, some articles have come out giving details on the 5 screen movie theatre located within Peru’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. The new Roxy 5 Movie Theater will be the only movie theater within Miami County and hope to keep residents from traveling to Kokomo for entertainment. Continue reading

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Opinion Post: Buckeye Street Mural

Mural on Buckeye Street (Image: Ross Pierce 7/5/11)

I want your opinion. I am on the fence about this new mural in downtown Kokomo. The mural took the place of parts of boarded up old windows on a building on Courthouse Square. Continue reading

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Picture Post: Russiaville Interurban Station

may or may not have a friend working at Brenner Design in Indianapolis, which is working on preservation designs of the historic Russiaville Interurban Station. I told my friend that I would post anything sent to me… in a loud bar, so hopefully they realized that I was serious. We caught up recently and spoke about our projects and they put together that Russiaville is close to Kokomo, so we began a pretty long conversation about the design and mentioned that they would send me some of the historic images.

Continue reading

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Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part3: Planting Day

On Friday before the planting day, Lisa (our professor) and a student went to the site and placed plants where they needed to be planted as well as removed much of the sod. We left Ball State University around 8:30 am the next day (April 30, 2011) and began planting as soon as we got to the site around 9:40. We had a brief “company meeting” and then we went to our assigned areas to start planting. Many students went to get a tree planting lesson from KIB (Keep Indianapolis Beautiful), and many went straight to planting. I was assigned the contemplative area near the parking lot side of the building, so many of these pictures are from that area of the site.

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Continue reading

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New Fire Station No. 2

(Image: Kokomo Tribune)

Over Easter weekend, I did as most college students do: drive home, do laundry and eat copious amounts of food with the family. I also got a chance to take a look at several development projects and areas that are happening around the city. On Easter, I was with family out off of Southway Boulevard and I decided to take a detour to look at the new fire station on Center Road.  Continue reading

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Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part2

Over the past few weeks, the Environmental Planning class has been coming up with ideas for the Indiana Interchurch Center in Indianapolis. The overview of the project can be found here: Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part1. A few weeks ago, we went to Indianapolis to present our preliminary ideas. The following images are our final presentation boards (Click to get higher resolutions). The overall project at the Indiana Interchurch Center will be multiple phases. Pictured below:

(Image: BSU Environmental Planning Course 2011 Student Work)

Continue reading

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Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part1

In a class that I’m taking this semester, we are learning about environmental planning. We have spent a good portion of the semester learning about environmentally friendly design features like rainwater planters, impermeable pavements, native vegetation as well as some of the dangers to our natural wildlife. We are using our learned knowledge to construct wildlife habitats on a site in Indianapolis near the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Indiana Interchurch Center (Image: Ross Pierce 03/25/11)

This project is located at the Indiana Interchurch Center (IIC) at 42nd Street and Michigan Road and is in association with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC), Ball State University, the Indiana Wildlife Federation and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB). The interdisciplinary project involves students from Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Natural Resources and Environmental Management and Architecture departments from students in their second year up to graduate students. Designing and installing a wildlife habitat to be certified by the Indiana Wildlife Federation is the main goal of this project but not limited to creating a master plan for future site development, maintenance and future funding and grant opportunities to continue development of the site. We are receiving native trees and native grasses and wildflowers. Trees coming from KIB in association with the Arbor Day Foundation called “Planting with a Purpose,” and grasses and wildflowers from Spence Restoration Nursery.

“This installation will increase the amount of livable area in the city for our native birds, insects, and mammals, as well as making the highly visible site more beautiful and environmentally sustainable.  The students will be presenting their preliminary site plan design to the IIC and other invited guests on Saturday, April 2nd at 10:00am in the second floor chapel of the IIC.” – Lisa Dunaway ASLA LEED AP

These are some preliminary site images of our site: Indiana Interchurch Center near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and 42nd Street. We are focusing on the entire site. I only took pictures of the street side of the building at this first site visit.

Image Locations (Image: Ross Pierce 03/25/11)

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We are currently looking for additional native plant and mulch donations, and installation equipment to borrow such as shovels and buckets. Please forward this to groups or organizations who would  be interested in donating. If you’d like to donate, please contact Lisa Dunaway via the Urban Planning Office at Ball State University by phone 765-285-1963 or by fax 765-285-2648.

UPDATE: Ball State University Immersive Learning Project Part2

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