Improvements underway in downtown Jasper
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The square surrounding the Dubois County Courthouse is undergoing construction however, it’s created complications for the businesses on the square.
City officials say this work is not only to improve outdated infrastructure, but also to make cosmetic changes, saying they hope this can be a place that people want to come and spend time.
Jim Siebert runs the clothing store Siebert’s in downtown Jasper. The store has been open for over 100 years, and Jim’s been in Jasper a long time too, he was actually born upstairs. He says he’s happy to see the work going on in the square outside his store.
”It’s all about making the town livable and comfortable,” said Siebert.
City officials say the Courthouse Infrastructure and Revitalization Project is a more than $5 million project which has been in the works since 2013. They say the storm water and water lines have been there for over a century, and some of the businesses on the square say they’ve had water issues because of it.
City officials say they’re also planning activity gathering spaces in each corner of the square, including swings, a firepit, and more.
They say they’re eager to invest in their city.
”We’re a small town but we have so many amenities to offer people that come here to visit as well as come here to live, so we’re really proud of it,” said Jasper Director of Community Development and Planning Darla Blazey.
Officials say not everything has gone smoothly with the project. They say not everyone in the community has been on board.
The work is also being done one-at-a-time in four quadrants around the square, and business owners say it can be an inconvenience when it’s your turn.
The owner of Merle Norman in Jasper says she regularly has to explain to customers how to get inside the store.
”Every day, so that’s been real fun,” said Merle Norman owner Dana Berger. “But the workers outside, the construction workers, are excellent. They even tell the customers, ‘here, this is the way to go, here’s the door.’”
At Siebert’s, Jim says he’s happy to see the improvements to his home town, and hopes it draws more business to what he thinks of as his old-fashioned style store.
”This little store is a dinosaur in today’s world, there aren’t a lot of little stores like ours left,” said Siebert. “People come from far away to shop with us. And I’m proud to be from Jasper, Indiana, or Dubois County.”
City officials say they’re hoping to have the project completed in October, but they’re hoping to showcase the work in progress at upcoming city events like Jasper in Bloom. For more information on that, and other events, visit https://visitduboiscounty.com/events/.
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