I go to a lot of meetings and hear about all the big developments coming in to destroy our sweet little Westfield Indiana. We hear about how it used to be and how its growing too fast. We hear how the nostalgia of its charming downtown is being replaced by new, bold and ugly. And you more often then not hear about the destruction of “historical” properties. But you know what you rarely ever hear about as we complain our way into the future? How much of our teeny tiny downtown is being preserved and how hard a large group of people are working to keep that glowing charm or develop responsibly. So just to share a few things I have made a list of 3 things in our downtown that have and will be preserved as we progress and while we are focused on an area about the size of a postage stamp to complain about, I would hope that a few get out and explore the neat things that remain.
Union St Housing – If you drive from David Brown Dr to Hoover St you would be glad to see so many fine old homes still standing and many have been restored or maintained beautifully over the years. From the Hoard family property which to me is one of the most beautiful homes in town to the Rebling home on N Union that makes you wonder how they accomplished that type of detail and quality in those times. We even have new homes that are working to be less invasive and add to the charm to replace older less cared for homes. For instance the Schaaf house which you would wonder if it was built a hundred years ago and perfectly kept or the Union Row that is smaller street facing homes, with old community charm and features as thankfully the fad for larger lot line leaning homes takes a break.
Park St – To take an older home that has little residential value and creating charming unique restaurants is one of the greatest ways downtown real estate is being preserved. Sure they would have sold and could sell today to a developer that wants to assemble and build apartments but instead 5 restaurants have become an area draw for foodies and have in turn kept 5 properties off the chopping block. The properties have all been modernized and turned into sustainable business locations which will be there for many generations as Westfield continues to grow. There are a few others to mention like Grand Junction Brewing company that has done a great job of making the best of old space, 109 N Union was an ugly house and the owners renovated it completely and it will be a business for many years to come.
NE 32 and Union – This is probably the most overlooked section of Westfield that gets zero praise yet is doing exactly what we need in the way of preservation. The owners should be thanked for a continued effort in keeping these properties from falling too far from usable and out of a dumpster. The “bank” building, the cpa, the attorney, the a/v company, the spa, the ad agency, the hair salon and several others that have taken pride in owning and preserving the few buildings that westfield has and using them as functional businesses. I would imagine that many of these owners have been offered dollar amounts that seem attractive but I can assure you that its not just about the money with this group (for the most part) and it is about the maintenance of downtown Westfields charm.
So while we focus on losing a block half empty pharmacy, a leaning restaurant and a fire station that could use a fire we need to really open our eyes to the really cool things being done in our area. Yes we will lose something important and good or bad, that is just part of growth but if we take a deep breath from the complaining about things we can’t enjoy, we could put our petitions down and just go for a walk and appreciate some really neat and cool preservations in our downtown. Its actually very charming and small.
Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage. He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments. Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area. Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.