It took $15 million to re-build Evansville’s North Main Street and now the city is looking to transform the area again. This time without spending a dime.
Evansville City Council is considering a new way to make Jacobsville a better place to live and work by implementing an “overlay,” or a special set of rules for development.
The overlay is designed to encourage more people to move in to the neighborhood by softening some long-time zoning requirements from the 50s and 60s.
Kelley Coures, Director of Metropolitan Development, says the city-wide zoning laws largely prohibit commercial development in residential areas.
The overlay would give exceptions, as it does in downtown and Haynie’s Corner.
“It attracts new development that ordinarily might bypass this area,” says Coures. “It’s about connecting this neighborhood with downtown, with Haynie’s Corner, with Garvin Park, and the green way.”
A classic example of what the overlay can accomplish could be mixing commercial and residential, so someone could open a store on the ground floor and live upstairs.
Coures believes this kind of urban growth can allow a neighborhood to thrive. “They want to be able to live, work, and play in the same neighborhood. That’s what we want to attract here.”
City Council will read the ordinance Monday night and it is expected they will vote. Councilman John Hayden, whose ward includes Jacobsville, doesn’t expect any issues.
It’s hard to envision what the neighborhood might look like years from now, but Coures believes it is what we make it.
“Missing teeth will be filled in the street’s smile.”
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(This story was originally published July 23, 2018)