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Imagine Huntington results released

July 21st, 2012

News Coverage:

Imagine Huntington results released

Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2012 3:22 pm

BY LUCAS BECHTOL lbechtol@h-ponline.com

Many people may have seen the Ball State University students around the city at Heritage Days asking people to take a survey concerning downtown Huntington while many others probably have found and taken the survey online.

The results are in, and the students and their professor presented some ideas on improving the downtown based on how people responded to the survey.

“We felt that it was really important for Huntington to establish itself as a regional tourist destination by capitalizing on the downtown character,” said Angela Shelby, one of the BSU students. “It was really clear that we should be developing the riverfront, because that was one of the main things we saw in the survey.”

One way people wanted the river used was with greater entertainment venues.

“According to the survey, 53 percent of respondents really, really felt passionately about an amphitheater or some sort of entertainment venue on the riverfront,” Shelby said.

Another aspect they focused on in their presentation was revitalizing the downtown by increasing amenities, such as grocery stores, and adding lofts to the upper stories of the downtown buildings, she said.

They also touched on the topic of life-long learning.

“One of the ways to facilitate life-long learning is by incorporating new amenities and new events in the downtown area that will attract various groups of people,” said Ralph Holmes III, another BSU student.

One way the students suggested doing this is by teaming up with Huntington University.

“One of the things that we looked at in particular was to have a downtown campus for Huntington University where they can not only have student living downtown but they can have people interacting with the students, have space for conferences and have space for students to have classes,” Holmes said.

Huntington City Mayor Brooks Fetters said his reaction to the presentation was “wow.”

“We can do something more than what we are,” he said. “It starts with people visualizing something beyond what we have.”

He said all the details did not need to be worked out and these kinds of changes will not come quickly but it starts with people coming together.

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