BEDFORD — Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis and Marla Jones, business and community development director, provided an update on the city’s various Stellar Communities projects Monday evening at the Bedford Chamber of Commerce meeting room.

Girgis said the purpose of the meeting was to update members of the community on how Stellar plans are proceeding and to field any questions regarding project development. A previous session was conducted in October, and Girgis said she plans to schedule the meetings on a quarterly basis.

The Stellar projects include: Limestone Trails, the Milwaukee depot, Stonecutters Place, Stone Gate Arts and Education Center, gateways and murals, streetscape improvements, courthouse lawn, downtown business incubator and facade innovations.

Jones said that, since the October gathering, architects have been procured for the arts and education building, the facade project, and the depot.

Girgis and Jones briefly recapped each project, explaining how each part would be financed and offer tentative timelines for completion.

A couple of citizens questioned the source of local funding. Girgis explained the city, county, local growth council and other corporate and individual donors had chosen to be involved in the restoration of the downtown area.

She credited Lawrence County officials with committing $500,000 for projects.

“That was critical,” she explained. “We’ve learned that not all government entities work as well together was we do here.”

Girgis also noted in February the state had approved funding for the Stonecutters Place Senior Apartments. The project will transform the old Carriage House Furniture building at 16th and K streets, as well as some adjoining properties, into 30 apartments for citizens age 62 and older.

Asked why the building was part of the Stellar plan, Girgis and Jones explained a feasibility study sponsored by Hoosier Uplands revealed affordable housing for a growing number of seniors in the community would become a reality sooner rather than later.

Stonecutters Place will receive $712,182 of the federal tax credits, which are administered and managed by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

The estimated cost of the facility is $7.1 million.

David Miller of Hoosier Uplands explained up to $6 million in tax credits could be used for the renovation and construction of the site.

As with most previous discussions regarding the downtown renovation, the availability of parking was a popular topic.

Girgis said nearly all projects are still in the design phase, detailed plans for parking have not been clearly defined but she was aware of the concerns and officials plan to address them as they proceed.

© 2022, Bedford, IN.