Capitalize on the iconic Boone County Courthouse and existing historic assets to continue promotion of and investment in downtown Lebanon to better realize the vision of an active and diverse, walkable, mixed use district.
- In Progress
Explore incentives for “Catalyst Projects” as identified in the 2017 Downtown Action Plan.
Six catalyst projects were identified in the 2017 Downtown Action Plan. These buildings and sites were selected because of their potential to generate additional private investment, preserve historic assets, and improve the appearance of downtown streetscapes. Potential incentives for these projects could include some combination of reduced application or utility connection fees; flexible development standards for items such as lot size, setbacks, or parking requirements; City-led infrastructure upgrades; or tax abatement. Specific incentives should be discussed on a case-by-case basis between City departments, elected and appointed officials, and the property owner or developer.
Create a multi-use path to connect downtown to Abner Longley Park.
Streetscape improvements to N East Street have been successful in providing a pedestrian and bicycle connection between downtown and Memorial Park. A similar facility should be created to connect downtown and Abner Longley Park. Continuation of the N East Street streetscape to S East Street is likely the most beneficial route for this connection. Such a facility would improve safety and access for nearby residents and visitors to the downtown area.
Promote mixed use infill at key downtown sites, including the southwest corner of Main Street and Lebanon Street, along S. Lebanon Street, and along E. Superior Street just east of Lebanon Street.
Infill development refers to the construction of new buildings on vacant or underutilized land in previously developed areas of the City. The addition of quality mixed use development in the downtown can increase round-the-clock activity in the area and better utilize valuable space within the district. Infill development can reinvigorate a district by improving its appearance and perceived safety. It also utilizes land, infrastructure, and municipal services more efficiently and without the need for service extensions.
Encourage a wide array of downtown businesses and activities to create a healthy mixture of shopping, dining, office, housing, and civic uses, in a walkable, urban framework.
Creating a variety of uses within a district has many benefits. Often, developments comprised of a single use have limited times of activity and may not utilize available space to its full potential. By promoting and allowing a mixture of uses, both day and evening activity can be enhanced. Additionally, reduced parking requirements or shared parking can help use space more efficiently, as residents or visitors to the area patronize multiple businesses within one trip.
Explore construction of a public parking structure to serve the downtown.
Downtown districts frequently struggle with concerns of parking availability. Whether these parking shortages are actual or perceived, many visitors want to be assured there will be available parking, convenient to their destination. The creation of a public parking garage was recommended in the 2017 Downtown Action Plan to serve growing businesses and additional development in the area. The parking structure should be within a block or two of the courthouse square to be convenient for those businesses. South of the square is likely most beneficial so that it may also serve proposed redevelopment along S Lebanon Street.
Explore civic focused redevelopment opportunities in the two blocks west of City Hall, as recommended in the 2017 Downtown Action Plan.
The civic redevelopment area envisioned in the 2017 Downtown Action Plan would be comprised of three square blocks between Superior Street to the north, East Street to the east, Elm Street to the south, and West Street to the west. City Hall anchors the east block, while the other two blocks currently reflect auto-oriented uses and open space. The plan recommends a new public facility to anchor the west block with a civic plaza and open space on the center block. This civic redevelopment area would then serve as a gateway into the downtown along the SR 39/Lebanon Street corridor and create a space to host additional events and programming activities.
Implement streetscape enhancements for Washington, Lebanon, Main, and Meridian streets as recommended in the 2017 Downtown Action Plan, when development occurs along these blocks or as resources are otherwise available.
The proposed streetscape improvements aim to enhance safety for all modes of transportation and elevate the aesthetics of these corridors. In order to better protect pedestrians, curb bump outs can be used to decrease crossing distances and offer greater visibility of pedestrians to motorists. Improved streetscape features can also include additional space for landscape plantings, public art, lighting, and bicycle and pedestrian amenities such as benches, trash receptacles, and bike racks.
Develop a public art program and identify appropriate locations for wall murals.
Art can liven up a district and highlight culture, promote economic development, and add to the quality of life and image of the community. Public art can take many forms, but in general is designed with the intent to be displayed and experienced in the public realm. With a public art program, the community can develop a plan that identifies sites, concepts, and potential approaches for integrating public art into downtown. These installations may be publicly funded, paid for with grants, or initiated by the property owner.
Encourage upper floor housing in downtown mixed use buildings through incentives such as reduced permitting and infrastructure connection fees.
Increasing the number of people living downtown in lofts and apartments is vital to the continued success of the district. This not only fills the underutilized upper-story floors of many buildings, it also creates around-the-clock customers for downtown restaurants, shops and services. It is important to remove potential roadblocks to residential development in the downtown, in addition to creating incentives to speed up revitalization efforts, entice new developers, and create permanent downtown residents. Potential development incentives could include reduced permitting or utility connection fees, a revolving loan fund to assist property owners in building out upper-story apartments, or using TIF funds for parking or stormwater improvements that benefit the district.
Enhance gateway and corridor connections between the downtown core and adjacent neighborhoods.
Downtown Lebanon and the areas surrounding it currently have a sense of physical and visual disconnect. To help bridge this gap, the City should create downtown gateways and prioritize bicycle and pedestrian connections to and from the adjacent neighborhoods. Additional streetscape design, including street trees and wayfinding signage will help tie the areas together. New development on surface parking lots will help activate the streetscape and fill voids in the urban framework.
Promote and support downtown events programming as offered by organizations such as ‘The Heart of Lebanon’.
Creating attractive open spaces is important, but there also needs to be a reason to visit them. To help Lebanon’s downtown gain greater popularity and recognition beyond the City, it is important to create a number of events and programming activities happening there. This helps to attract new visitors and user groups who might otherwise not visit. These events or programs can include holiday celebrations, music or artistic performances, food trucks, or fitness events. The goal is to keep the downtown active throughout the year.