The mayor of Crawfordsville says the centerpiece project of the city’s Stellar Communities designation has cleared a key hurdle. Todd Barton says the city has closed on a 24,000 square-foot building which will serve as the home of Fusion 54. The facility will promote collaboration and synergy among city and county agencies who will relocate there and will include 6,000 square-feet of coworking space, as well as the Wabash College Center for Innovation, Business and Entrepreneurship.
Barton tells Inside INdiana Business the $2 million project is a "huge step forward" for the city. He says the goal is to keep young people and professionals in the community through the coworking space, while at the same time enhancing the performance of traditional groups within the community.
The agencies moving to Fusion 54 include economic development groups, the Crawfordsville-Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Crawfordsville Main Street, Montgomery County Leadership Academy, and the Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Barton adds the city has already seen success with this type of collaboration on a smaller scale.
The city’s partnership with Wabash College predates the Stellar Communities designation. Barton says moving the Center for Innovation, Business and Entrepreneurship to Fusion 54 will take the partnership to the next level.
"We take those young minds with all of these ideas about starting a business, whether it’s creating software or whatever it might be, and we give them a space in which to work and to function," said Barton. "But we also physically connect them with the traditional economic development people."
Barton says he expects to begin construction on Fusion 54 late this year or in early 2018. The project could be complete by second quarter 2018.
The mayor adds work on other Stellar Communities projects are progressing well. The city is looking to break ground on two new parks near downtown Crawfordsville next spring and will also work to connect its existing trail system into the downtown area.
The city also has plans for an adaptive reuse of the Ben Hur building in the heart of downtown Crawfordsville, which will be transformed into a hotel and restaurant. Barton says the city could break ground on that project in a year.
Barton says the Fusion 54 project is a “huge step forward” for the city.