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A ribbon cutting ceremony for a mural of wings in Greensburg, Indiana.

Greensburg: CreatINg Spaces One Project at a Time

A community in southeast Indiana is taking its residents’ wants and needs seriously and is building a vibrant community.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published by the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA) in the fall 2022 issue of IHCDA...the Magazine. We are proud to partner with the IHCDA on the CreatINg Places program, building vibrant communities across the State of Indiana.

What would you like to see in your community?

This is the big, vague question that all of us are familiar with. We hear it during Comprehensive Plan meetings, town halls, community events, trainings, conferences, and public meetings—the list is endless. That simple yet sometimes complicated question is what guides us and our residents to create spaces and build amenities that attract new residents and keep residents happy in their current place.

Greensburg, known as the Tree City, is located halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati on I-74. If you’re looking for a rural town experience while still being close to the amenities of larger cities, Greensburg is the place for you. Among the rolling cornfields, Greensburg is the picturesque county seat of Decatur County, home to more than 13,000 people. We strive to provide our residents with the city services necessary to keep our community safe, clean, and welcoming to all.

We’ve gone through many changes over the last few years as a community. Greensburg and Decatur County saw positive population growth in the 2020 Census (due to declining urban populations in our larger neighboring cities), new transportation and broadband infrastructure growth, and newly created spaces for our residents and visitors. Greensburg is a great place to live, work, and play- and our current and upcoming projects are proof of how we take that saying literally!

So, what did we want to see in our community?

Named after Greensburg Community School’s mascot, Pirate Park is a multi-use green space with a concession stand and restroom facility building, called the Pavilion. Pirate Park was designed originally as a youth soccer complex and was presented as part of our community’s 2017 Stellar Community application to OCRA. Pirate Park was tweaked and redesigned to serve multiple functions. It’s not just for youth soccer games and tournamentsit can now serve as a designated green space for festivals, concerts, and gatherings at the Rebekah Park Amphitheater. Pirate Park was also designated as a project as part of our region’s Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) application. Pirate Park is a large stepping stone for Greensburg into sports-based tourism and economic attraction- and we’re open to hosting tournaments and events in the spring of 2023!

The Building Bridges to Inclusion Park (BBIP), a passion project for Greensburg’s former Police Chief and Greensburg Community Schools SRO Officer Brendan Bridges, is a fully inclusive playground for children and adults of all physical and intellectual abilities. Officer Bridges’s son, Jaxon, is Autistic and nonverbal. Looking for something new and different (and hopefully keep Jaxon busy and burn off some energy), Officer Bridges found the West Fork Park in Greene Township, Ohio, which is an inclusion park. Inclusion parks offer communities a different kind of space for children of all intellectual and physical abilities to come together and play. The study of play shows us that playing helps children develop necessary social and cognitive skills. Having a unique and safe place to allow children to grow and interact with each other can be a bright spot in our community. BBIP, through the support of a generous community, Patronicity, IHCDA, and Indiana READI is fully funded and will begin construction in the spring of 2023.

Neighborhood parks are the top amenity families and young residents look for in a community. Greensburg has many parks, and one of them is located in the heart of a residential neighborhood. North Park sits centrally between Park Street and North Carver Street. North Park is home to our youth football travel league but needed some major upgrades. This included parking, a new curb and sidewalk around the whole park, reseeded grass, painted crosswalks, lighting, and a new sign to identify the park. Improved drainage reduces flooding that can occur in the park and surrounding neighborhood, and the addition of street lights around the perimeter of the park reduces after-dusk activities. The City has also put additional investment into North Park. The 2022 Summer Intern Class proposed to demolish the unusable tennis court and create a GamePad with concrete cornhole boards, a concrete ping pong table, new picnic tables, and four square. This project is currently in progress, and we hope to see it completed in early 2023.

A mural of musical instruments in progress at Rebekah Park.
A new mural in progress at Rebekah Park.

Another park that has seen much improvement is Rebekah Park, located within walking distance of Greensburg Community High School on the southeast side of the city. The park has grown immensely in the last decade, with the additions of a bark park, splash pad, updated playground equipment, an amphitheater, walking trail, and pickleball court. In 2021, the City of Greensburg’s inaugural Summer Intern Class created, proposed, and implemented the construction of a fitness park. The fitness park has much of the equipment you would find in a standard gym, but is located outside and is free to use. Complete with signage to explain the proper use of the equipment, visitors to the park can access fitness equipment that they may not otherwise have access to. The youth of our community, through our internship program, saw a need and worked to build something to address it. Our interns created, designed, presented, budgeted, and worked to build an amenity in our park from concept to completion.

As communities grow, the need for improved infrastructure and transportation is a must. In 2021, the City of Greensburg cut the ribbon and completed a roadway project 20 years in the making. Veterans Way, which connects US 421 to State Road 3, created a residential and commercial corridor on the north side of the city, an area that is ripe for expansion and growth. The completion of this project gave many residents a shorter commute to their places of work, shopping, and quicker access to Interstate 74, but also added a trail along the entire length of Veterans Way that can accommodate bicycles, scooters, and motorized wheelchairs. Roadway projects for future development through the State of Indiana would improve major travel corridors on the south side of the city, including Main Street (State Road 46) and Park Road, which connects to City Park, residential neighborhoods, the Decatur County Fairgrounds, municipal airport, disc golf course, and Greensburg Golf Course.

Park Road is more than just a new road- this project would also create a walking trail, new street lights, and would widen the road to allow room for wider trucks, giving our public safety the ability to navigate their large emergency vehicles to residences on Park Road to provide necessary services. Park Road is very busy, especially during the spring and summer months, and improving the safety conditions would decrease the risk of a traffic accident. Improved drainage in the area would also decrease flooding, which happens on Park Road frequently during the spring and summer months. The reconstruction of Park Road would also open the opportunity to residential development and the potential for more growth. Residents will see progress begin on Park Road in 2024.

State Road 46, our route to Columbus to the west and Batesville to the east, runs right through the south side of our downtown square. The sidewalks and Main Street saw improvements a few years ago, but now the other ends of the street are in need of some assistance. This corridor houses industry, businesses, housing, and serves as one of our main travel corridors through Greensburg.

The projects listed above are just a small taste of what we’re doing in Greensburg. In addition to new roads and parks, we are working to expand our trail system to connect the whole city. The trail expansion is a collaborative effort between the Decatur County Parks Department, the City of Greensburg, the Greensburg Public Library, and the Decatur County Memorial Hospital. Our current trail system runs disconnected through different parts of the city. By connecting all of our trails, we will create a safer way for our residents to bike and walk through our entire community without using vehicles to get to another part of the trail.

As a community with a municipal airport, we have the opportunity to branch out and provide more transportation options for our residents and visitors, and our industry leadership. As the home to many large industries such as Honda Indiana Auto Plant, Delta Faucet, Showa Denko Materials, GECOM, and Valeo, the expansion of our airport’s runway would allow for larger airplanes to land at Greensburg. Our industries would not have to shuttle in their leadership from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, or nearby larger towns when visiting their factories- we can have them come directly to Greensburg instead. This is an expansion project decades in the making, and we are nearing completion in the next year.

An exciting addition any community can be pleased with is residential development. Greensburg, as one of our many ongoing projects, will see the first new housing development in decades. The new subdivision by Beacon Homes will be just off of Veterans Way, located next to an existing apartment complex, The subdivision will have homes designed and priced for families and first-time home buyers. This addition adds 70 homes to the city and helps ease the need for appropriate middle-income housing options. There is a need in Greensburg for middle-income housing, and adding these homes into the housing market will attract even more people to our community, and can help retain our current residents looking for a new home.

The ribbon cutting for one of the #DistinctivePlace murals in downtown Greensburg.
The ribbon cutting for one of the #DistinctivePlace murals in downtown Greensburg.

Greensburg has many, many other exciting projects coming in the near future—we aren’t ready to share yet! We take our residents’ wants and needs seriously and into consideration when talking about what we want to see in our community. We’ve answered the call and will continue to work to meet the needs of our residents.

There’s plenty more up our sleeve, and we can’t wait to share what’s coming to our corner of southeast Indiana.