Outline taking shape for Edinburgh’s new comprehensive plan

Nearly three dozen Edinburgh residents gave feedback on what the town’s future should be Tuesday night.

The town hosted a Big Ideas Open House to get feedback for the town’s new comprehensive plan. Thirty-one attendees were asked to share their thoughts with sticky note messages posted on the eight different poster boards detailing the plan’s initial key points.

The open house was designed to be a checkpoint to see if officials were on track with what residents wanted, also giving them another opportunity to give feedback on the town’s direction, said Julie Young, planning director. Creating the plan now is good timing since the town is likely to grow in the near future, she said.

A public draft of the new comprehensive plan will be presented and published for residents to review in June. Since the funds for the plan came from the state of Indiana, state officials will review the plan in addition to the plan commission and town council.

The key goals and ideas on the poster boards came from a public survey that received over 400 responses, a community workshop and focus groups. Topics included housing, transportation, economic development, government and fiscal capacity, parks and recreation, natural resources, historic and archaeological resources and placemaking.


For housing, a goal is supporting the development of new housing of various types and prices. Officials want to do this by updating the town’s zoning and subdivision ordinance to encourage desirable development; ensuring the ordinance permits missing “middle housing” to appeal to young workforce and seniors; identifying possible incentives to attract residential development such as Tax Increment Financing for housing; and more.

Another goal is to promote the beautification of neighborhoods through local enforcement and grassroots volunteerism. Some ideas to do this include strengthening local ordinances and communicating clear directions and deadlines when issuing violations; developing an online portal to submit ordinance violations; a rehabilitation program for residential properties; and a celebration centered around beautifying Edinburgh, the posters show.

Government & transportation

The town proposed a goal of fostering an engaged citizenry through better communication and expanded participation opportunities. The town has some ideas to do this, including using social media, news outlets and utility bills to share engagement opportunities or updates; streaming government meetings online; creating an online portal for Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals materials; launching a youth task force; and keeping the document center updated.

For transportation, the goal is to continue maintenance and strategic improvements. Some proposed ways to do this are updating street standards to follow best practices and include bicycle and pedestrian facilities; completing an asset management plan; converting Main Cross Street into a two-way street downtown; and creating an action plan for parking downtown, according to the posters.

Another proposed goal is to develop a master plan; complete a sidewalk and curb ramp inventory; and partnering for opportunities to connect trails in the region.

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Economic Development

The town wants to revitalize the downtown district “as a vibrant, economically-diverse destination with a desirable mix of uses.” Proposed ways to do this include: developing a downtown revitalization plan; establishing a Main Street organization; creating a downtown business attraction program; amending the town’s zoning and subdivision ordinance to limit residential uses in upper stories in traditionally commercial areas of downtown; and acquiring and repurposing vacant lots.

The town also wants to support existing businesses and entrepreneurs by forming an entrepreneur support organization; encourage local business owners to join local chambers of commerce; and connect local business owners to resources and programs.

A final goal is to attract new employers by partnering with nearby economic development organizations and expanding the business page on the town’s website.

Parks and placemaking

To improve town parks, goals include establishing a parks board; developing a five-year master plan; identifying money-generating opportunities within the parks system; and encouraging the formation of a parks volunteer group.

Another goal is to build on existing amenities by upgrading existing facilities; exploring opportunities to acquire land for future park amenities; updating development standards to support the use of floodplains; and updating development standards to parks development of community parks if a proposed neighborhood is not in walking distance of a park.

Placemaking goals include promoting Edinburgh as a tourism destination; creating a flexible public green space downtown; continuing to enhance downtown with public art; experimenting with tactical urbanism with short-term, low-cost projects like temporary plazas, parklets and alley activations; developing a “Visit Edinburgh” page; and partnering with area students to create social media content.

Other goals include improving gateways into the community; installing wayfinding signage along main corridors; and enhancing streetscapes with new lighting, sidewalks, street furnishings and landscaping.

Preserving resources

For historic and archaeological resources, goals include restoring and reusing historic buildings with a historic preservation overlay district; considering establishing a historic preservation commission; and connecting business owners with incentives for rehabilitation and reuse of commercial buildings downtown. Another idea is to host historic district walking tours.

Goals to preserve natural resources include activating the riverfront along the Big Blue River as a destination for residents and visitors by; upgrading the boat launch at Irwin Park; hosting events along the riverfront; supporting improvements to the Irwin Park campsites to provide overnight accommodations; showcasing the river’s history through historical markers, monuments and public art; and restoring the natural flow of water and preventing erosion of the river bank.

Other ideas to protect the environment include extending recycling center hours; considering adding curbside recycling; launching a public education campaign about the importance of protecting groundwater; installing a rain garden downtown; promoting the quality of local waterways to reconfigure the wastewater system and reduce combined sewer overflow; establishing an urban forestry committee; and more, posters show.