PLAINFIELD — As the downtown Plainfield construction project continues, the town council has decided to move forward with a new Performing and Fine Arts Center.
"During the pandemic we were talking what's going to happen with this thing?" Roger Dutcher said.
Dutcher is a member of the Hendricks County Symphony Orchestra. He said they are very dependent on local schools for performance space.
"There is nothing in Hendricks County right now that works like a fine arts center would," Dutcher said
The Performing and Fine Arts Center is part of the Plainfield downtown conceptual plan finalized in 2017.
"Feedback we got a lot of it was about wanting to have additional entertainment draws that would encourage people to come downtown to visit downtown," Plainfield Town Manager Andrew Klinger said.
As part of the downtown plan, the town has opened a new parking garage. A new apartment complex with retail space below called The Barlow is also open on Main Street.
Klinger said the apartments are fully leased but there is some retail space available.
Right now, the town's new government center is being built next door to the current Municipal Center on Main Street. Once that project is completed at the beginning of next year, the Performing and Fine Arts Center will be built on the site where the current Municipal Building is located.
"Last fall council did approve moving forward with the government center portion of the project but thought it would be prudent to do more analysis on our center project to get a measure for how COVID-19 would impact arts groups and the prospects of the art center," Klinger said.
After hiring a consultant to get public feedback, the town council authorized moving forward with the center.
"Which basically said this building won't be completed until 2023. The feeling was by 23 hopefully we will be out of this pandemic and a lot of the restrictions in place and people will be really interested in getting back out and going back and being part of different arts events," Klinger said.
The town is also working with a local developer in Plainfield to rehab the old Prewitt Theatre that currently sits empty and needs a lot of work, according to Klinger.
"Our proposal has been accepted to convert the old theatre into an upscale restaurant and bar," Crestpoint Real Estate Owner Patrick Keller said. "Event center that can accommodate live music, weddings and even a small spin-off on some movie nights since it used to be a theatre."
Keller's main hub for his company is also located downtown. As a Plainfield resident and local business owner, he's hopeful the improvements coming to the area will help attract more people downtown.
"I think the people that live in the town have wanted to see it grow and advance for several years now," Keller said. "Things have been happening for the last few years and it's good to see some traction."
Klinger said he is hopeful that the new Performing and Fine Arts Center will attract both regional and national talent.
"We have the benefit of having a strong downtown to begin with we have a lot of great small locally owned businesses in downtown," he said. "We think this is only going to help boost and support those businesses as more people are drawn into the downtown area."