Quality of Life
Utilize parks and recreation facilities and programming, historic, cultural, and artistic resources, and unique community character to improve the quality of life for all in Lebanon.
- In Progress
Continue to improve existing park and recreation properties as identified in the Comprehensive Five-Year Park System Master Plan 2017-2021.
The Comprehensive Five-Year Park System Master Plan is a guide for park maintenance and growth of existing park facilities and programs. A list of recommended improvements is included for each park as well as the existing trail system. Programming, administrative, and promotions/marketing recommendations are also included. The City should continue to prioritize and fund park maintenance and improvements to promote the quality of life of Lebanon citizens and protect the health, vitality, and growth of the community.
Maintain a five-year park system master plan and develop new park and recreation facilities to sustain park levels of service as the community grows.
The Lebanon Parks & Recreation Department adopted a new Comprehensive Five-Year Park System Master Plan in 2017. This plan keeps the City eligible for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. It is important for the City to maintain this eligibility, and as such, the five-year park system master plan. The plan is used to assess existing park facilities and levels of service. As the population of Lebanon grows, so to should the acreage, amenities, and programs of the parks system.
Use the results of the recent community branding initiative to develop and implement a wayfinding program for community destinations.
Wayfinding signs are used to direct residents and visitors to local attractions and points of interest. They are essential in creating an atmosphere of comfort and confidence as visitors navigate the community. The City can use the brand foundation completed in October 2017 as the basis for a wayfinding program that supports community identity, directs people to key destinations, promotes bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and includes interpretive elements related to City history and culture. Once the initial sign package is developed, it can be easily expanded to broaden reach or incorporate new destinations.
Continue to expand park and public space programming with events celebrating the historic, cultural, and community identity of Lebanon.
Even the best designed parks and public spaces cannot reach their full potential without proper activation and programming. Programming refers to formally organized and delivered activities that may include concerts, festivals, physical activities, farmers markets, games, and other activities that appeal to a mix of interests, ages, and abilities. The City already offers a number of events and celebrations throughout the year. On-going improvements to the courthouse square will create new opportunities for programming that highlights unique aspects of the community.
Explore creating a park impact fee to help fund new park and recreation facilities.
Indiana Code 36-7-4-1300 series establishes a process by which cities can assess and collect impact fees for certain infrastructure, including park and recreational facilities. Before the City Council can adopt a park impact fee ordinance, the City must first create an impact fee advisory committee and a zone improvement plan. State code includes specifics for the ordinance, committee, and improvement plan. It is recommended that Lebanon take the first step in this process by creating the impact fee advisory committee. This committee will then determine if a park impact fee is appropriate. If so, the committee would oversee and advise the creation of the improvement plan and ordinance. It is important to note that park impact fees can only be used for new facilities, not the maintenance of existing facilities.
Continue working with developers in the design and construction of trails within new development in accordance with the City of Lebanon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan.
The City of Lebanon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan identifies an overall system master plan and project list to improve multimodal connectivity in the City. Some projects will be led by the City and undertaken as resources become available. Other projects should happen in conjunction with adjacent development. When private development occurs where a bicycle or pedestrian facility has been identified in the plan, that facility should be installed by the developer at the time of development construction.
Advertise and manage a strategic code enforcement system that concentrates targeted efforts on specific problems such as small multi-family buildings, junk cars, or certain geographic areas to improve the appearance and safety of Lebanon.
An effective means of stabilizing property values and creating quality neighborhoods is by ensuring the good maintenance of buildings and lots. When properties are not maintained, the City may have to get involved through zoning, building, and health code enforcement. To help create a more successful and efficient process, the City should periodically focus efforts on widespread or recurring issues, first with an information campaign, then notices to owners of property that are violating codes, and finally formal violation tickets, if necessary. The goal of code enforcement should be removal or correction of issues, punitive fines or fees to the City should be viewed as a last resort.
Beautify gateway corridors using signage, enhanced landscape treatments, public art, lighting, and street trees.
Lebanon’s gateways and entry corridors vary in character from local and regional commercial destinations to major institutional anchors and industrial development of differing intensities. In order to better define the sense of entry and experience of coming into Lebanon, future streetscape and right-of-way improvements to the SR 32/South Street, SR 39/Lebanon Street, and Indianapolis Avenue should include additional investments in signage and aesthetic enhancements. Additional gateway corridors may be created with future interchange modifications or as development occurs in the southeast portion of the City. Gateway treatments for established entrances could then be replicated at these new locations.
Explore creation of a Lebanon Community Center to house both adult and youth fitness facilities, meeting and event spaces, before/after school care, and education and recreation programming.
Numerous residents identified the need for a community center during the planning process. A community center can serve as the figurative heart of the City and offer classroom and event spaces, an early childhood learning center, fitness facilities for all ages, a health and wellness clinic, a café, and other amenities and services. Use of some programs or amenities may require membership while other spaces and activities are open to the public. The City should conduct a feasibility study to explore the creation of a Lebanon Community Center. This study could more closely examine programming and space needs, costs, and potential funding or revenue streams to help make the facility a reality. Such a facility would not replace the Witham Family YMCA or the Boys & Girls Club of Boone County, but may be able to fill service gaps or expand program offerings, either independently or in conjunction with one or both of those existing organizations.
Continue to promote the value of historic preservation in conjunction with consideration of an expanded historic district or new district(s) to better protect historic resources.
The Lebanon Downtown Historic District and Historic Preservation Commission were created in 2012. The historic district designation seeks to preserve and protect historic resources, ensure appropriate restoration activities, and require compatible new development where applicable. The Lebanon Redevelopment Commission offers a cost sharing grant program to commercial properties within the historic district for building repairs and renovations that support preservation. In order to better promote historic preservation, the City and Historic Preservation Commission should consider expanding the existing district or creating a new historic district. It would also be beneficial to expand the existing grant program to include residential structures.
Utilize development regulations and incentives to establish a higher quality of design and construction for key sites and corridors.
The City currently uses zoning overlay districts to require higher quality site and architectural design for properties along thoroughfares, the interstate, and within the downtown. As part of an update to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), these overlay district boundaries and regulations should be reviewed to ensure they are resulting in the desired development character. In addition to existing requirements, it may be beneficial to incorporate incentives into these or other development regulations to promote desired aesthetic goals. Incentives could come in the form of density bonuses, parking reductions, landscape flexibility, or City-led infrastructure or amenity improvements.
Actively campaign to improve the distribution of positive information about the community in order to spread good news and improve attitudes and perceptions about Lebanon.
Certain negative perceptions about the City and the negative attitudes of some residents were repeated throughout the planning process. In order to better emphasize the good things happening within Lebanon and call for more people to help improve the community, the City should initiate a positivity campaign. The initiative could be an expansion of the existing Lovin’ Lebanon campaign. It would be organized to highlight positive aspects of the City and call attention to good news, whether a major community event, jobs announcement, or something as simple as a neighborhood clean-up or “front yard of the month” recognition.