Avilla pocket park in progress
By Kayla Brennan | KPC Media - The News Sun
Avilla is looking to refresh its downtown and Restore Avilla’s first project to establish a small pocket park are heating up.
“Restore Avilla was formed to revitalize the downtown area of Avilla, both aesthetically and to return its economic vitality. The pocket park is the first project we have undertaken,” Todd Carteaux, president of Restore Avilla, said.
Larry Goldsmith, owner of the old pizza shop MagPie’s Pizza, was contacted and in December 2017, he donated the building and the lot for the pocket park to Restore Avilla. Joshua Lash, of Midwest Land Surveying, agreed to pay for the cost of acquiring the property. Restore Avilla then deeded the building to Lash.
Restore Avilla will update the land at the pocket park and, upon completion of the project, donate the park to the town. According to Carteaux, the park department will take over. The park will be as maintenance-free as possible.
The funds for this project were all raised internally with no grant money from the state. Businesses donated money along with people who live in town.
Community State Bank issued a challenge to see who would match it’s $5,000 donation. Two parties rose to the challenge. Parkview Physicians Group in Avilla donated $5,000 and Ryan Yarian donated $6,000 to the project. Those three groups alone donated $16,000 to the project.
“Other businesses gave $1,000. We also sold capstones for $500 as well,” Carteaux said of the fundraising drive.
Concrete was poured at the park site Thursday. The next step is to weather-seal the concrete.
“Now we are just looking forward to seeing the project as it progresses. It should be done this year,” Carteaux said.
Jeff Straessle, a landscaper in Avilla, has offered to donate his time to put in the landscaping for the pocket park, Carteaux said. Restore Avilla will only be billed for the cost of the materials.
Carteaux said this park will be a space the whole community can use. The group’s hope is that this park will help engage with downtown businesses.
“This is going to make the downtown a lot more attractive to locate a business once they see how nice it is. That’s Restore’s goal,” Carteaux said.
Restore Avilla has plans in the works for next year’s projects, too.
“We’re working on getting $1 million dollar grant from INDOT. That grant will put new streets, curbs and sidewalks in downtown Avilla. That grant does not cover street lights. That cost will be $7,000. Restore Avilla will work on getting a grant to cover the lights as well,” Carteaux said.
Restore Avilla meets the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the St. James Restaurant. There are no stipulations to join the group. Anyone who wants to help restore downtown Avilla can join.