Heritage Fund kicks off new downtown development plan

Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, is launching a new program to plan for the future of downtown Columbus.

The foundation announced recently that it and city officials will be working with David Rubin Land Collective, a landscape architecture and urban design firm based in Philadelphia. on the new downtown plan.

Heritage Fund officials say this will be a similar process as those used to develop Mill Race Park and the new Commons, said Tracy Souza, president and CEO of the foundation, in a press release.

“This is the same process the community has followed in selecting architects for many of our treasured public facilities such as Mill Race Park, several fire stations and schools, as well as The Commons,” Souza said.

“We are so grateful for Cummins’ interest in keeping our downtown a place people want to be.”

The project will include a significant process for gathering public input.

“We know that we can make great things happen when we work together to develop a vision and an implementation plan,” said Mayor Jim Lienhoop in a press release about the new project.

“It has happened time and time again with successful results.  Focus 2000 and Vision 2020 are great examples of public-private partnerships that bring together citizens and city to enable investment, resulting in a downtown of which we can be proud.”

The end product of the process will be a an updated strategic development plan for the downtown. The last plan for downtown was completed in 2004 by Development Concepts Inc.

Money for the project is coming from the Cummins Foundation. Since 1954, the foundation has been providing funds to pay for world-renowned architects for Columbus projects.

“Our ability to attract and retain the best and brightest employees to our headquarters location is directly linked to the continued success of this journey,” said Norbert Nusterer, Vice President Cummins Inc. and President, Power Systems Business, in a press release.

“We are excited and honored to contribute yet again as the community updates its roadmap towards an even more vibrant and economically viable downtown that serves an increasingly diverse set of city residents and visitors.”