News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

December 26, 2013

TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: ISU can now make its mark

Housing project will transform downtown like never before

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University, by virtue of the State Budget Committee’s approval last week allowing it to launch a student housing project on Wabash Avenue, will have an opportunity to make its mark on downtown Terre Haute in ways it has never done before.

The university’s close proximity to the city’s historic commercial district has always made its presence critical to downtown’s future. ISU has made the most of that situation. In fact, its master plans of recent decades have gone a long way in providing impetus for revitalization. Most recently, its magnificent renovation of the former Federal Building at Seventh and Cherry streets into its Scott College of Business brought the campus closer than ever to downtown’s heart and soul at Seventh and Wabash, the Crossroads of America.

But this project is different and, arguably, more important to the downtown’s appearance. Several crumbling but historic buildings on the north side of Wabash Avenue will be demolished to make way for the new multi-story housing and commercial buildings. ISU had hoped to preserve the facades of the old buildings, but that portion of the proposal had to be abandoned in order to cut about $2 million in cost from the project.

While the design of the new building has not been determined, ISU officials have pledged to create something that will fit into the “architecture and fabric” of downtown.

We are confident that’s exactly what ISU and its developer, Thompson Thrift of Terre Haute, will do. Both have a major stake in this community. And both have shown their commitment to local construction and architectural design in the past.

Work will begin on the project in coming weeks. We anxiously await the results.

Reader poll results

Recently, the Reader Poll at Tribstar.com asked:

Do you think that the growing income gap between the top 20 percent and bottom 20 percent of Americans is a serious concern?

Results: 194 votes were cast.

• Yes — 140 votes, 72.16 percent

• No — 52 votes, 26.8 percent

• Don’t know —  2 votes, 1,03 percent

 

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