News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Flashpoint

July 24, 2011

FLASHPOINT: Time has come to rediscover our downtown

----- — Much has been reported recently on the growth of, and investment in, downtown Terre Haute. It’s apparent we have turned the corner on decades of blight and lack of confidence in our downtown, and thanks to a number of recent public and private developments, there’s a sense of energy that continues to result in new construction and business starts.

Consider this. Within the past five years, downtown boasts two new hotels, a world-class children’s museum, a new federal court building, several recently established retail and professional service franchises, and the tangible interest of Indiana State University. Lest we forget, this has been accomplished during one of the worst recessions in U.S. history. 

Not since the out-migration of major retail decades ago has there been as much optimism and forward momentum in the redevelopment of our downtown.

As president of Downtown Terre Haute, Inc. (DTH), I feel compelled to share the great work being accomplished by our organization and how it adds value to our downtown merchants, property owners and community.  Within the past year, DTH has undergone a restructuring of capabilities and priorities, resulting in a renewed sense of urgency and focus on supporting the success of downtown merchants.

Here are a few of the value-added projects DTH has accomplished or sustained this year:

Downtown Cooperative Growth Initiative — through the partnership of ISU, DTH and many downtown stakeholders, a new branding and marketing strategy has been developed to promote the merchants and events of Downtown Terre Haute, which will be publicly launched in September. Phase two of the project involves the development and installation of a comprehensive “way-finding” system for downtown.

DTH Streetscape — in collaboration with the City of Terre Haute and many individual “adopters,” the downtown streetscape will look better than ever in 2011. DTH has organized a sustainable maintenance schedule to ensure the professional care and planting of our landscape boxes along Wabash Avenue and the Seventh Street Arts Corridor. Leveraging both public and private funding, the program is already creating a source of pride and sense of ownership for our main street. Thanks to the support of Mayor Bennett, Duke Energy, Time Warner Media Sales, the ISU Facilities Management Recycling Center, Precision Lawn Plus, and many others for helping make this possible. If you have an opportunity to meet our Streetscape Chair, Stephanie Boyd, please thank her for her outstanding leadership.

2011 Downtown Block Party — formerly known as the Terre Haute Street Fair, DTH has refocused its efforts this year to organize a one-day event on Aug. 27, showcasing our downtown merchants and community partnerships. Our co-chairs, Boo Lloyd, Lisa Johnson, Marla Flowers and Judi Evelo, have been working tirelessly to produce an event unlike downtown has yet to experience. Activities are geared to attract all ages, and include fine local foods, wine and beer tasting, an artisan market, children’s zone and multiple live music acts and much more. Save the date — Aug. 27.

Annual Heritage Awards Dinner — one of the best opportunities to acknowledge those who make a positive impact on downtown is during the annual DTH Heritage Awards. This year we recognized a number of projects and individuals: the Terre Haute Children’s Museum for economic restructuring, Miracle on 7th Street for promotion of downtown, Art Spaces, Inc. for design of the Max Ehrmann at the Crossroads sculpture, and Todd Nation as volunteer of the year. We anticipate an equally impressive roster of candidates for next year’s event.

DTH Membership — as a member-driven organization, DTH has a commitment to providing results. The DTH board of directors set a membership goal this year to ensure the ongoing success of our efforts, and I’m pleased to report we have met that goal.  However, as we look toward to 2012 and the opportunity to continue adding value to the development of downtown, additional corporate investment will be needed. Our mid-term goals include hiring staff in 2012, continuing the ongoing marketing strategy for downtown, assisting in retail expansion and recruitment, and partnering with our many stakeholders.

As we look toward the future of downtown Terre Haute and our collective interest in ensuring the success and profitability of our merchants, I invite you to join our efforts. Whether your involvement takes the form of individual member, corporate investor or event volunteer, DTH welcomes your support.

I also invite you to choose downtown and rediscover what you may be missing. You have a choice when deciding where to eat, shop and play, and it’s appreciated when you choose downtown. 

— Christopher Pfaff, Director ISU Business Engagement President,

Downtown Terre Haute, Inc.

Co-chair, Energize Downtown

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