Perspective on downtown Fishers construction

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By Jeanette Kassebaum

Kassebaum

Kassebaum

When friends ask me how my summer is going, I tell them I am surviving. You see, I have spent the summer practicing law in my office in downtown Fishers in the midst of orange barricades, beeping dump trucks, growling front end loaders, teeth grinding jack hammers, dust (lots of dust) and the dreaded roller which creates a mini earthquake each time it passes my building.

All of this construction on Maple Street and in front of the Fishers Town Hall is part of the Town Council’s plan to create a more vibrant downtown. More places for residents to live, work, shop and dine. There are certainly exciting aspects about this redevelopment plan dubbed Fishers 2030 and I truly hope it meets with great success.

Many residents have embraced the redevelopment effort and are already walking and biking more to the downtown area. However, the project has not been without some controversy in the local business community. When Fishers 2030 was unveiled, there was a touch of hysteria, followed by rumors, confusion, then group meetings and individual discussions with Town officials. Most folks simply wanted to know if and how the construction was going to affect their business. We dealt with lots of questions about access, safety, utilities, and uncertainty while trying to run our businesses. For many of us, we are dedicated to serving this community and wanted to stay in the downtown area.

As the construction plans geared up, several professional offices on Lantern Road and Maple Street were faced with relocation to make room for a new road. It was gut wrenching for some of these owners and opened new opportunities for others. I hated losing my trusted neighbors and friends. In making my own decision to stay, I spent hours with my team of experts to plan my survival strategy. This included installing a temporary entrance and sidewalk, directional signage, putting up caution tape and security cameras. There is no doubt that the businesses that remain, like me, will continue to wrestle with remaining downtown or leaving so that new, more modern structures can be built.

Throughout the summer, I have learned that construction in the name of progress is both ugly and hopeful. It not only creates upheaval of the road, sidewalks, and dirt, but also stirs up human emotions, motives, tempers and opinions. But every day as the project takes shape, I wonder if the future holds something far better for most of the businesses in the downtown area. I also realize that as Fishers 2030 continues to evolve, there will be friction between those who want things to stay the same and others who clamor for change. For me, I am surviving and hope to continue to be part of the downtown Fishers business community.

Jeanette Kassebaum is an HSE graduate and has been proud to be an attorney in Fishers since 1991. Her office is located at 11614 Maple St., Fishers. She can be reached at www.kassebaumlaw.com.

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