Photography / Kerch Creative
After 12 years of planning, hard work and dedication, the City of Westfield is ready to catapult its downtown project into motion. The community behind the Grand Junction Park and Plaza hope to see downtown Westfield flourish after breaking ground on the project.
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook is a huge advocate for Grand Junction. He believes Grand Junction will be able to attract people from all over and connect locals and visitors alike.
“Westfield wants to make a place where people want to be,” Cook says.
The planning for the project started 12 years ago when they wanted to improve downtown. Much of the downtown part of Westfield was built in the 1800s. Parts of it burned down since then, not making it an attractive place to visit and hang out. In addition, many of the core buildings moved away from downtown, such as the police station, fire station and the post office. Reasons to visit downtown Westfield were becoming few and far between.
With the residents and visitors in mind, the city of Westfield wanted to create a place that would attract people and make it a fun, beautiful place to work and live. According to Cook, the plan desired a vibrant destination for downtown Westfield. They decided to achieve this plan by starting the Grand Junction project. A group of citizen volunteers called the Grand Junction Task Group works tirelessly on the plans for this project and what it would look like for the town.
Teresa Skelton, member of the board of directors for the Downtown Westfield Association, works in close liaison with the Grand Junction Task Group. Being a lifelong resident of Westfield and supporter of the Grand Junction project, she is excited to see where it takes the city. Grand Junction is something that residents are excited for, especially the local business owners.
“It will be uniquely vibrant,” Skelton says. “It will be a place where friends meet, it will be a place where business connections can be made. That area is already developing in a small way with the great restaurants we have. But [Grand Junction] will be where you can actually go see a symphony or whatever is in the amphitheater or the kids can ice skate.”
According to Westfield’s website, Grand Junction Park and Plaza is a redevelopment of the historic district of Westfield which includes multiple different projects to improve the downtown area and community. Grand Junction will eventually include a park, five different trails, an amphitheater, an ice rink and many more projects connecting the Grand Junction and the town together.
The City of Westfield has commissioned Land Collective, an Indianapolis based landscape architect, to lead the design of Grand Junction. According to their website, Land Collective is known for bringing their designs to life with Newfields, Cummins Corporate Headquarters, and many more buildings around the Indiana area. They have worked with the people of Westfield to make this project a reality.
“We want our downtown to have a unique flavor to it,” Cook says.
Cook wants to connect the old buildings with new ones. With the renewal of downtown, he hopes to encourage small businesses to continue opening up in the old buildings to tie downtown together. He hopes that through it, the residents and visitors will be able to enjoy Westfield together.
Grand Park, another Westfield project, is a successful addition to the downtown area. Grand Park is a planned youth and adult recreational sports village. The 400-acre sports campus hosts athletes and sports teams from all over. Their outdoor facilities are for baseball, softball and field sports including soccer, football, field hockey, lacrosse, and two planned indoor sports facilities designed for year-round play. This completed project has brought many visitors to Westfield and they have seen growth in downtown including restaurants, retail and other entertainment venues.
Skelton is happy to see the success in Grand Park and she hopes Grand Junction will also see that success and continue in the growth of Westfield.
“We didn’t just want a park,” Skelton says. “We have parks and they’re wonderful. We wanted a ‘wow factor.’”
The Grand Junction project is estimated to be completed in two years. They broke ground officially on Nov. 4.
For more information about the Grand Junction project, what’s included and a timeline, visit westfield.in.gov. To learn more about the landscape architect company Land Collective and the projects they are working on, visit land-collective.com. To learn more about Grand Park and their facility, visit grandpark.org.