City's Main Street submission not accepted
PLYMOUTH — After working furiously up to the last minute before the deadline to complete a proposal for a Main Street grant that could have possibly meant renovations to the old fire house in Plymouth, it was learned that proposals could not be accepted by email. The submission directions, which apparently were not included in the proposal packet, stated that only hard copies would be honored.
According to Mayor Mark Senter, the notation that proposals must be in hard copy form can be found in the rather lengthy Main Street binder provided by the state, but those working on the proposal assumed submissions would be accepted per email after finding nothing in the packet to the contrary.
Final applications for the federal grant that is administered through the office of Community and Rural Affairs in Indiana would not have been due until October of this year; however the project proposal had to be submitted by Aug. 15.
For several months, a committee of local stakeholders, including Marshall County Economic Development Director Jennifer Laurent, have been discussing and reviewing possible projects to propose to the Main Street organization. A public hearing was held during the city meetings earlier this month. In order to proceed, the committee needed to obtain permission from the Common Council.
During the meeting, Laurent said, “We definitely need community consensus.”
She said the criteria for the grant are “slum and blighted areas,” and added: “That simply means preservation of buildings that otherwise would not be possible without grant dollars.”
Also speaking at the public meeting was local architect Brent Martin. Martin told the Council members that the committee was looking at renovations of the old firehouse at the corner of Center and Washington Streets. He reminded them that there was a major project done in the early 1990s on the structure. Martin said the bricks are very soft since they were formed in 1875. He said there are some places where there are stronger bricks, but those they were part of the renovations in the earlier project.
Referring to the Main Street grant confusion, Senter said, “There are opportunities (other grants) out there. We can use the information we have and add more to it since we now have more time.”
Senter also shared his appreciation for the entire committee and Chair Brian Van Duyne for their work on the project.
Main Street is a national program that helps to support the preservation of downtown historical buildings as well as promoting business retention and improvements. Main Street has a four point approach to helping communities achieve some of their goals including design, organization, promotion, and economic restructuring.