In October 2019 I compiled these aerial photographs of Richmond Indiana to document the change my city had undergone over the past half-decade. In 2013, Richmond was designated by the State of Indiana as a Stellar Community. The designation made grant money available that the City of Richmond could use for comprehensive and collaborative plans for community and economic development.
Among the plans for community and economic development were included the transformation of a portion of little-used downtown parking lot into a park, protected bike lanes connecting Downtown Richmond to the Depot District, and a historical rehabilitation project that saw new facades on downtown buildings.
Downtown Richmond, Jack Elstro Plaza, 2014-2019
Elstro Plaza offers a stage, recessed lawn, restrooms, ample parking, and a splash pad. It is home to the Richmond Farmers Market, Meltdown Winter Ice Festival, and Food Truck Wednesdays. This downtown park is a great, central location to meet friends in downtown Richmond.
Clear Creek Park, 2014-2019
In 2017, Clear Creek Park became home to a new playground, a Playground with a Purpose. The fenced-in playground is designed to appeal to kids with autism or physical disabilities. You can also see the blue DreamCourt that was installed in 2016. DreamCourts are made from special safety-surface material and are made possible by local fundraising and grants from the Nancy Lieberman Foundation and the WorldVentures Foundation.
Starr Gennett Building, 2014-2019
This is now a great spot to explore the scenic nature in the Richmond Gorge. The enhanced parking surrounding the historic Starr Gennett Building makes it the perfect venue for big events. Although it is literally in the center of Richmond, it has a very secluded feeling.
Old Reid Memorial Hospital, 2014-2019
In 2006, this property was sold by Reid Hospital (now Reid Health) to an investment group. The group had big development plans for the 100-year-old hospital. Financing fell through and the property was transferred a few more times before it was left to decay. Taxes on the property stopped being paid in 2011. The building was demolished and the site cleared in 2018 and now awaits development.
Glen Miller Tennis Courts, 2014-2019
In these photos, you can see the last remnants of the Glen Miller Park Zoo, the barns, and sheds to the west of the tennis courts. They were home to a friendly pack of raccoons before the Parks Department demolished them. In 2017 the tennis courts were resurfaced, made possible by a $30,000 donation from Indiana University East.
Richmond Depot District, 2014-2019
Creating an entertainment destination from a formerly industrial zone has worked wonders in places like Portland’s Pearl District or New Orleans’ Warehouse District. Richmond’s Depot District isn’t quite as formerly as some would like, with industrial bakeries, plastic factories, and dog food factories calling it home along with an ice cream parlor, bookshop, bars, & restaurants. This area saw the first face of the Complete Streets protected bicycle infrastructure installed. Also, the south-bound lane of US 27 was rerouted to create a safer curve as it splits from the north-bound lane.
First Block North 10th Street, 2014-2019
Here, on North 10th Street, you can see a portion of the protected bicycle lane. Enough digital ink has been spilled on this subject elsewhere, and I will leave it at that.
Middlefork Reservoir, 2014-2019
The Parks Department has been busy. From the air, you can see the much-needed new playgrounds installed at Middlefork Reservoir. Also, the patio of the bait shop has been expanded and portions of the fishing docks replaced.
Blue Buffalo Plant, 2014-2019
Blue Buffalo’s $200 million Indiana plant opened in June 2019. The 400,000 square foot facility will be home to 165 employees in processing, quality assurance, maintenance, and management jobs. The plant can produce more than one million pounds of pet food every day. Wow!
IMPA Richmond 2 Solar Park, 2014-2019
IMPA’s (Indiana Municipal Power Agency) solar park on Richmond’s far east side is one of four solar parks in the city. It’s located on 58 acres of land and is made up of nearly 27,000 solar panels. Richmond 2 Solar Park produces power for about 1,190 homes. For comparison, there were 15,000 households in Richmond during the 2010 census.
Positive Changes to Richmond
As you can see, the last half-decade has been good to Richmond, Indiana. I’m proud to call this city home. I look forward to being able to update this article in the years to come with all of the exciting improvements being put in place now.