Downtown Bluffton plaza plans see changes
By Jessica Bricker for the Bluffton News-Banner | Indiana Economic Digest
New images and an update on fundraising efforts for the downtown plaza projects were released this week.
The updates reflect two significant changes to the plaza and courthouse property.
The updated renderings of the project reflect how the north-facing public entrance to the courthouse will look once the middle portion of the steps is removed. The renderings also include the Civil War-era cannon, but it was confirmed this week that the American Legion Post 111 will be loaning it to the Wells County Historical Society a few blocks west on Market Street, where the cannon will be housed.
Post 111 brought the request to place the cannon outside the courthouse in December 2010. The cannon — an “ordinance rifle” — was manufactured in 1862 and evidence suggests it was used at Gettysburg. It is believed the cannon was also on the plaza in the 1950s and 1960s.
The 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War was recognized in 2011, and a dedication ceremony with the firing of the cannon was held that July.
The plaza project images also show the addition of the county’s bison that was painted by Wells County art students to celebrate the state’s bicentennial in 2016. Lautzenheiser said project planners hope to get that includeds.
According to Bluffton NOW! figures, $724,660 of the $1.1 million goal has been raised so far. Of that, $300,000 came from the Wells County Foundation for naming rights of the plaza, $212,660 from the City of Bluffton, $125,000 from Wells County government, and $87,000 from other private donors.