By Amanda Amsel
Neighborhoods in Prairie Township might soon be getting a facelift thanks to the efforts of the Prairie Township Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).
The corporation, which formed five years ago by the township trustees to facilitate economic development, is working on a West Broad Street Redevelopment Study.
“The study is looking at different West Broad Street neighborhoods and deciding what type of development makes sense for the different areas,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “Some areas in the township are zoned as single family, multifamily, retail or even medical office use. This study is looking at these areas and evaluating what new development would be beneficial to that area.”
Costing $80,000, according to Hatmaker, funding for the study came from the Joint Economic Development Zone Board and urban design and planning firm MKSK is conducting the study.
A few ideas the planners have considered include building a town center or new multi-family housing.
“We want this study to spur development in the township,” Hatmaker said. “We are looking at creating incentives and guidelines to encourage outsiders to invest in our community.”
The CIC has considering investing in a demonstration project in an effort to encourage others to do the same.
“The CIC is a collaboration between the township, the school district, Doctors Hospital and local businesses, so we hope they will invest in the redevelopment of our community as well,” Hatmaker said. “We feel that a demonstration project might be a great jump start and show others the many benefits of investing in this area.”
Besides encouraging development in the area, the CIC is investing in township neighborhoods. The CIC recently offered West Broad Street business owners grants to upgrade their signs, has for years offered township residents interest free loans to replace their dilapidated sidewalks and has reconstructed several township streets in an effort to add new sidewalks to the area.
The CIC also is looking at how it can help homeowners update their homes and increase property values.
“We are looking at multi and single family homes in mature neighborhoods like Lincoln Village and Evergreen Terrace,” Hatmaker said.
Hatmaker said the study would be complete in a couple of months and then the CIC would move forward with recommendations.