FEDCO helps with train depot, Times Cinema, Rochester downtown

12/6/14

FEDCO (Fulton Economic Development Corp.) serves as a growth and development partner for business and industry and as a community development partner for cities and towns of Fulton County.

Following are several recent newspaper articles of recent efforts of which FEDCO has been a part.

ALL ABOARD

Depot move a little closer

BY WESLEY DEHNE
Staff Writer, The Sentinel, 11/14/14

The Rochester Redevelopment Commission is moving closer to the Erie Railroad depot.

The commission met Wednesday to discuss downtown revitalization projects, focusing mainly on the train depot and Rochester Times Cinema.

Fulton Economic Development Corp. Director Terry Lee presented plans for the depot to the Rochester Park Board Oct. 20. It signed off and the city council has since given an unofficial OK.

The council’s next step is voting on a resolution that specifies that the city takes ownership of the building and maintains it. The resolution is required for a Fulton County Community Foundation grant to help with depot moving costs.

A similar resolution was approved a year ago, when plans for the depot included moving it to Lakeview Park.

The grant application is being repeated because the newly chosen site is at future terminus of the Nickel Plate Trail at Ninth Street.

Lee said a key component to the move, and expansion of the Nickel Plate, is survey work from 18th to Ninth streets.

Also, the survey will continue along the Erie Railroad bed to Fourth Street, which is an already identified way to expand urban connectivity between the Nickel Plate Trail and Rochester Pathway and the rest of the downtown area.

According to Lee, the survey process will include title searches on various properties to determine what kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land and if any liens exist.

The commission also brainstormed ideas for the Rochester Times Cinema, noting that many people see it as a landmark and would like to see it used as a community multiuse facility. The redevelopment commission plans a countywide survey to determine what ideas for the theater would gain broadbase support.

Planning consultant Ken Remenschneider, Indianapolis, expressed the theater’s current condition could stand in the way of people seeing its potential.

City clerk Shoda Beehler said a lot of people don’t know the theater has a stage.

The commission agreed the movie theater would have to be more than a movie theater alone. The uses of the site could include art exhibits, plays, recitals, receptions and weddings.

In other business, the commission discussed potential Indiana Bicentennial projects. There is a pool of money available for bicentennial projects that involve education, history, park and recreational land purchase and culture. The commission is currently in negotiations with landowners for purchase of property. No more details were revealed.

Main Street meeting Thursday

BY AMANDA BRIDGMAN
Staff Writer, The Sentinel, 9/16/14

A new alliance of community members wants the public to join forces to better downtown Rochester.

The Rochester Downtown Partnership, an arm of Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Main Street, meets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Fulton County Public Library.

Partnership members will tell about their new program and give residents an opportunity to be a part of it.

Chamber Director Diane Spore said Shae Kimcikewycz, from the Indiana Main Street Program and Fulton County’s main street program manager, will be at Thursday’s meeting to help explain what the group can and cannot do.

Being designated an Indiana Main Street participant allows the city to apply for grants through federal grants administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Spore said. Rochester is waiting for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to sign the papers deeming Rochester a Main Street program participant. He’s expected to do that at an Oct. 30 regional meeting in Peru, Spore said.

The Rochester Downtown Parntership will be run in four tiers, Rochester businessman and partnership member Harry Webb said. There’ll be a design committee, organizational committee, economic restructuring committee and a promotions committee.

Webb will chair the design com­mittee. Local attorney Brian Fitzwater, city councilman Chayse Thompson and chamber assistant Tiffany Futrell will chair the organizational committee. Fulton Economic Development Corporation Director Terry Lee and Fulton County Area Plan Commission Director Casi Cowles will chair the economic restructuring, and Rochester Clerk-Treasurer Shoda Beehler and Selly Campbell, the office manager at Big R, will chair the promotions part of it. Webb said the Rochester Retail Merchants group will be tied into the promotions tier.

Webb said the design committee should be a fun one to be a part of. They’ll throw out design project ideas and put together a project list to figure out how grant money can be used.

“I obviously have a strong interest in the downtown surviving,” Webb said. “The downtown is your welcome mat, so it’s important we maintain our downtown.”

Spore said the meeting Thursday is for anyone passionate about Rochester and Fulton County “to come and be a part of this.”

Theater redo mulled

BY AMANDA BRIDGMAN
Staff Writer, The Sentinel, 9/11/14

Fulton Economic Development Corp. Director Terry Lee is looking for investors to fix up Times Cinema.

That’s what Lee told the city redevelopment panel at its monthly meeting Wednesday. He also is the development commission’s president.

“I get people every day that ask me about the theater, that give me ideas for the theater,” Lee said. “The interest is out there.”

The theater, owned by Dr. Kenneth Hoff, Lee’s father-in-law, is in a state of disrepair and the marquee has drawn the attention of the Fulton County Planning Director Casi Cowles, who sent Hoff a June 23 letter saying it’s a public hazard. The Redevelopment Commission put the theater in its top five projects to tackle last month.

Hoff closed the cinema Jan. 1 after movies could no longer be shown on the outdated technology. Lee estimates the cost to upgrade to an all-digital two-screen theater would cost about $170,000.

Lee said he’s been advised to create an limited liability corporation and find three to six big investors to fund the roughly $400,000 project of upgrading the theater at 618 Main St.

At one point in the meeting Lee said he isn’t sure if he’s approaching the theater as economic development director, redevelopment commission president, family member or what.

It was inspected and City Clerk-Treasurer Shoda Beehler will be given a $750 bill for that, Lee said.

The inspector found water is getting in the building and mold and asbestos, Lee said.

Plan Commission Director Casi Cowles said whatever’s wrong with the inside is a shame but that Hoff “has until snow flies to fix the marquee.”

Lee said if he can find investors, he’ll take the information to Hoff and see what Hoff wants to do about the property.

Hoff has owned the theater for 30 years, Lee said, and doesn’t want to see its demise, so he’ll probably either sell to buyers who want to fix it up or keep it and make the emergency and required repairs to stay out of trouble.

Lee said by looking for investors, “everybody kind of has a chance to be an owner of it.”

No date was set for a public meeting about the project. 


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