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Walnut Street/Living Street

BAAC 2021

Licensing and permission for any reproduction of this artwork please contact Sarah Heppner


Our proposal is to revitalize the heart of downtown Batesville through providing space filled with culture for citizens to gather: the HeART and Sole of our town. For decades now, our downtown has been steadily diminishing into abandoned buildings and seas of asphalt. Civic leadership has recognized the need to unify our downtown in a manner that attracts and retains talent, individuals, and families of various demographics. A missing element of our downtown's livelihood is a public gathering space for culture and community. We lack the simple fabric that holds, connects, and identifies Batesville as an authentic place.

Ideas for creative placemaking have long been at the forefront of conversations. An agreed-upon comprehensive plan serves as a basis for shared community vision. We are chartering a course aligned with economic and community development strategies and the identified needs of our community for the greater good of Batesville.

A key use of these funds will be to identify and analyze 3-5 catalyst projects that are most likely to spur continued downtown growth and development. We will work with a design and development consultant team to generate ideas with a focus on public-private partnerships. This groundwork positions us to solidify the funds needed to bid and build a project that will set the precedent for future projects. Our goal is to bring rural urbanization into our downtown area. We want to provide a gathering apace with cultural and artistic amenities that mimic those found in urban areas. We want to increase accessibility with curbless streets, livability through the connectivity of downtown areas with bike paths and walking trails, and beautification through art. A vibrant and active center providing an enjoyable social experience for existing and future residents is key to the economic vitality of Batesville.


We have already identified a significant enhancement opportunity that has much community and stakeholder support. The Living Street project is a segment of the primary Walnut Street corridor into our downtown. The project converts an underutilized, utilitarian space into a vibrant pedestrian-oriented plaza. Simple programming features such as flush curbs, movable planters, bump-outs, and speed tables transform this space into a walkable, programmable event space while accommodating current day to day uses. Decorative pavements,

catenary lighting, and interpretive opportunities set the stage for integrated artwork and cultural programming initiatives. Integrating our Craftsman Heritage, natural hardwood resources, and historic railroad alignments are among the potential conceptual design elements that formulate the space's unique materials and vocabulary. This project will promote livability and connectivity of today’s citizens amongst a rich backdrop of history, heritage, and arts. The project has been taken from talk to concept with a private donation. Grant funds will

allow us to push this project from concept into the detailed design and planning process. Locations for public art installations have been identified. The installation of a mural, public sculpture, or interactive artwork will be a key utilization of this first phase of grant funds. This will demonstrate to the community the capacity of the project in a tangible form.

The project has garnered the support of many like-minded organizations that see a thriving downtown as an overall asset to Batesville’s growth and vibrancy.

Situated in a rural area, Batesville, Indiana has no traditional town gathering spot. A town square or public plaza is missing in what is known as our downtown area. We are lacking a central hub, a place for our citizens to come together as a community. In recent years, progress has been made to attract new businesses to vacant buildings. Now is the time for Batesville to continue to revitalize the downtown area and keep the growth on the upward trend. The City of Batesville’s comprehensive plan has four main areas that align with these goals. Local businesses understand that a strong downtown leads to more people choosing to live in Batesville, leading to a larger employee pool. City surveys reveal that in order to attract and maintain talent our city needs more civic and cultural spaces. 

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