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Bedford Wrapping Up Five-Year City Renovation Projects

Exterior of Downtown Depot Bedford

The city moved the old train depot as part of the renovations. (Tyler Lake, WFIU/WTIU News)

It’s been five years, but the City of Bedford is nearly finished with a major downtown revitalization project. The city worked with community members to prioritize the things they thought would improve the quality of life in Bedford.

Bedford was awarded a Stellar Communities grant in 2013.

But Mayor Shawna Girgis says preparations actually started long before that, when the city published its first comprehensive plan in 25 years in 2010.

Girgis says the initial comprehensive plan for Bedford’s renovations was too broad for the Stellar Communities project.

“So after getting that first year’s feedback, of course we went back to the drawing board and said ‘okay, what can we do different, how should we approach that?’ So we really narrowed our scope just to the downtown area,” Girgis says. 

As part of the Stellar Communities project, the city relocated the historic train depot, renovated downtown building facades and moved Stonegate Arts & Education Center into its new location at the Girgis Building on the town square. The city also worked with the county government to beautify the courthouse square.

“You really have to have the participation of the courthouse because it would be like, yeah, it’s the face of the downtown," Girgis says. "We were just fortunate that they were already working on the courthouse building itself, so we were able to work together on the grounds.”

The city held several public meetings to hear what the public wanted to see change in their community. Girgis says one thing residents wanted was trails, which she says is the type of amenity that increases quality of life.

“So we want to be the type of community that people go ‘yeah, you know, this is a place we want to be, we can see ourselves living here, raising our family here,’ hoping that they stay here. So I’d say that’s one of the end goals for sure,” Girgis says. 

In all, the renovations total about $20 million. That includes contributions from local businesses like the Bedford Times-Mail, General Motors and Hoosier Hills Credit Union.

State agencies that contributed were Indiana Department of Transportation, Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Housing & Community Development. 

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