Tag Archives: Kokomo Tribune

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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Achieving a different kind of Water Quality when city demolishes Dam

When I was finishing up my degree at Ball State University, I first heard that the city decided to demolish the Crystal Street Dam. I was glad to hear that there would be public investment on the quality of our local waterways. In an article released recently in the Kokomo Tribune, this dam has been a drowning hazard for many years, and with the removal will leave only one other piece of infrastructure for canoeists to look out for between eastern Howard County to the Wabash River.

One time when I was younger, I fell into the Wildcat Creek. I came out smelling like a wet dog and remember my clothing was stiff after letting them dry for a short period of time. Needless to say I immediately took a shower after falling in, but even at a young age I knew that the water in the creek was extremely polluted. That was probably more than ten years ago, and I’m not confident that the water quality of the rivers and streams have improved in Howard County or at the state level.

I’m glad that we are trying to improve the experience of the canoeists, but I think that the real issue of our waterways is not being addressed on a state level. Our creeks, rivers and streams have been noted as being polluted with toxins that create reproductive problems in wildlife species, which is passed on to any organism that feasts on the infected individual. Some uneducated or people without means will eat fish they catch in these local waterbodies, and would be ingesting toxins that will reside in their system and change the way their body functions. Now combine that with whatever is in the sewer system should it overflow into the waterway when there is a heavy rainfall. Needless to say this is not how our local water should be.

What used to be a pristine attraction that once influenced early settlers to create new establishments, the quality of our waterways have quickly been degraded and often seen as disgusting, pungent and toxic. We need to see change. We need to plant vegetation to help filter out toxins before they reach rivers and streams, which could help keep geese out of public parks and create habitat for other local animal species. A select few communities have began to create local clean water policies, but without funding and stronger clean water policies at a state level we will not see much change in the quality of our waterways.

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“Conserve your gas by continuing to drive” – A limited view from CNHI

As I skimmed through past articles from the local newspapers online, I came across this little jewel. An article by the Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc (CNHI) in the Kokomo Tribune about the conservation of gasoline to save money. The ONLY tips given to conserve gasoline are noted as checking your maintenance schedule, avoid aggressive driving and the list below:

• Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive above 60 mph is like paying an additional 24 cents per gallon of gas.

• Remove excess weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, such as golf clubs or tool boxes. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mileage by as much as 7 cents per gallon.

• Avoid excessive idling.

• Use the cruise control.

• Use your overdrive gears.

Nowhere does it mention using alternative modes of transportation. The article never mentions the words bus, train, bike or walk anywhere. Here is the problem. This generic article was most likely published in many other states, illustrating that as Americans we only look at solving problems with the most convenience. This article is a perfect example. The article’s impression is “We won’t give up the convenience of our vehicles, but we want to save the money we spend on powering them.” The result: an article on becoming a more efficient driver. Being an efficient driver isn’t enough, we need more radical changes. You might be able to save up to $1, by abiding by these “efficient rules,” but what will you do when gas prices rise to succumb that measly dollar saved?

The best way to save money and to conserve gasoline is to take more drastic measures to remove it from our lifestyle, like cutting down the amount of time spent in a car or by using other modes of transportation. A bike for instance might take more time to get to your location, but it also burns calories, reduces congestion, reduces road wear and tear (reduces amount of tax dollars needed for road repair) and saves more money than “observing the speed limit” in your car like CNHI suggests.

The amount of savings of using alternative transportation could easily be calculated. If you live close to where you work, walking and biking would be just as efficient. If you work further away from where you live, but live near a transit line, taking public transportation would definitely reduce the amount of fossil fuels being used. By using public transit, or using a bicycle for regular trips, a person could save $40+ per week by not using a personal vehicle. Imagine what you could spend with the money you could save by using public transit or a bicycle. If you spend as much as $40 per week and are able to use public transit or a bike for regular trips you could save around $2,000 each year. Also, where do you suppose your money goes when you guy a gallon of gasoline? Almost 75% of the money goes to crude oil extraction companies, mostly in Saudi Arabia or Russia. We are literally paying other countries so that we can drive our vehicles.

Becoming an efficient driver is not enough, cutting out excessive trips and by using alternative modes of transportation are more effective ways of saving money. But the article did get one aspect completely correct “we all must acknowledge we likely never will pay fewer than $3 per gallon for gasoline again.” With gas in the $3.90’s currently, I’d be extremely surprised to see gasoline fewer than $4 in the next coming months. And there it is: that $1 you saved by driving more efficiently is spent on gas.

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Rebranding the Kokomo Mall: Life after Elder-Beerman?

Is this the end of the Kokomo Mall as we now know it? Announced publicly Thursday and yesterday in the Kokomo Tribune, Elder-Beerman (a long-standing anchor in the Kokomo Mall) made the decision to close their Kokomo Mall location and open a Carson Pirie Scott in the Markland Mall where Macy’s once stood.

Kokomo Mall (Note: dated exterior)

There is no real way of knowing if the Kokomo Mall will turn around, but if we look at this at a development standpoint there are two good aspects to this change. It is a good thing that the company isn’t closing up shop completely in Kokomo, and we are filling a huge gap within the Markland Mall. The bad – A mall that is having a hard time to compete with the Simon-owned mall (Markland Mall) is going to have a even harder time competing with one less anchor. In my mind, the “good” mall  just got better, the “bad” mall just got worse. Continue reading

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Main & Union Street Improvement Project

It’s St. Patrick’s day, so lets talk about something green that the city of Kokomo is working on.

The other day, I decided to take an alternative route to the south side of Kokomo. Instead of using Washington to drive south, I used Main Street and noticed that some of the locations of the roadway improvements are spray-painted on the road surface. The project is detailed in the Kokomo Tribune, with Main and Union streets becoming two-way thoroughfares with bike lanes and stormwater retention planters. From my understanding, the planters will look something similar to the stormwater planters used in the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, but on a much tighter budget.

As I got out to walk around the stretch just north of Markland Avenue, I noticed that some of the stormwater planters were in strange locations. Some were midblock, some where like a typical intersection bump-out and some seemed to be on only one side of the street and not the other. From someone who finds symmetry extremely aesthetically pleasing, this bugged me. I could be wrong about the placement, since the project hasn’t even began construction yet. For all I know the city ran out of spray paint while marking the planter locations.

No planter marked in front of the Main Street Methodist Church with parking limited. Seems like a good place for a planter... (Image: Ross Pierce 03/11/11)

Continue reading

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