By Bart Doan
The town council here, in coordination with the parks board, has agreed in principle to approve the purchase of 7.5 acres of property along State Road 267 to be used for mixed-use development.
The town negotiated a purchase price with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis Properties for $2.35 million.
Town Manager Grant Kleinhenz said purchasing the property is essential to Brownsburg’s future vision and explained what might be on the forefront.
The property currently is home to Saint Malachy Church and school.
“I think the reason that it’s important is that it’s a keystone property that will seriously affect our downtown and future growth along (S.R.) 267,” he said. “Rather than let it be used for something that doesn’t fit our vision or sit there and deteriorate, I think the town felt it was important to do our due diligence, purchase, and put a plan together that’s consistent with our comprehensive plan that will benefit directly the residents of this community.”
Kleinhenz said the property is intended to have both a business and parks element as part of the mixed-use goals, saying the council and parks board buys into that concept, adding that the frontage along the road will be essential to develop correctly.
“The back will be used in connection with Arbuckle Acres park,” he said. “Mainly for the frontage along (S.R.) 267,” he said. “The idea of the mixed use is to have maybe restaurants, smaller retailers, or office space that would compliment what the staff has discussed with the council. There will be some commercial, along with some expanded park usage.”
Town Council President Dwayne Sawyer said the word “crown jewel” was used during meetings because of how it can aid the town moving forward.
“Right now, it’s adjacent to Arbuckle Park and also has proximity to town hall, so with correct planning and correct use, it really will be a destination place to go,” he said. “We’re looking at really good opportunities for growth and expansion and we are very excited about it.”
Sawyer stressed that at this point there has been approval to buy the property, but the town does not own it just yet. But he said residents should be excited at the future prospects.
“We think, when zoned correctly and built up correctly, residents will have the best of both worlds from a business and community park perspective,” he said.
Kleinhenz said the town has been working on trying to negotiate a purchase of the property for the past two to three years, and this approval to purchase also puts an added onus on working to upgrade (S.R.) 267.
“I think it goes hand in hand with the reconstruction of (S.R.) 267,” he said. “I don’t know that in its current state we can have an expanded use facility, but that’s something we’re continuing to work toward, the town getting control of the road and making those improvements.
“I think when the comprehensive plan was done last summer and finalized, some of the big recommendations were creating an amenity, a draw, which we feel is an expanded park usage. We can have more sporting events and activities, which in the end generates the need for more retail.”