$9 Million Infrastructure Project Signals Beginning of Lawrence Village
A 55-acre, village-style community planned for Fort Harrison may help link what has historically been a bipolar city of Lawrence. Ground was officially broken May 5 on a $9 million infrastructure project which will “pave the way” for Lawrence Village at the Fort.
This “live, work, play” community is planned for the area bordered by 59th Street, Post Road, 56th Street and Lee Road. It will include new homes, retail shops, restaurants and parks, and already houses the Lawrence Government Center, YMCA and the Ivy Tech Lawrence campus.
“We are setting the stage for developers and office users to invest in Lawrence by becoming part of the Lawrence Village at the Fort community,” explained Kris Butler, executive director of the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority (FHRA). “That’s what we are all about promoting here in Lawrence – a strong sense of community and a place to call home for families and businesses.”
After the former military base closed in 1996, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources converted 1,750 acres into the state park and The Fort golf course. The remaining 550 acres given to FHRA for redevelopment were so dilapidated that the land was appraised at negative $9 million.
Thanks to the efforts of FHRA and more than $250 million in local investment, just one-sixth of that land now appraises for $10 million, and the historic homes along Lawton Loop boast an average selling price of $650,000. This remarkable turnaround has earned Lawrence a nationwide reputation as a model for successful redevelopment of a military base, Butler said.
The most recent activity at the Fort is sure to increase its popularity even further. The infrastructure project will add new parks, bike paths, sidewalks and landscaping. Hundreds of new trees and other plantings will line the streets, along with benches, street lamps and bike racks. In addition, streets will be widened and utilities buried.
“Starting today and ending by the end of 2009, the Lawrence community will see a flurry of activity here on this property,” Butler said.
In addition to the activity at the Fort, Monarch Beverage is constructing a 547,000-square-foot facility on Pendleton Pike, just about a mile down the road. As development continues, Lawrence is building not only new structures but also its sense of community.
As the planned amenities take shape at the Fort, Geist residents may have a new reason to head down to the city center. With phase one of the infrastructure project wrapping up this fall, FHRA is now courting developers who are interested in this hot property.
For more information, visit the FHRA website at www.fhra.org.