Making bremen a destination

This article is from the Bremen chamber of commerce web site, and it is some interesting reading if you are interested in the town itself. there is a second part that I will post as well shortly.

Randy

The Town of Bremen…A Destination

By: Bill Davis – President Bremen Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

In 1990 Ball State University assisted various members of our community in evaluating the Town of Bremen’s assets and liabilities to document the direction future planning would take us. Some highlights included; downtown revitalization, commercial and industrial development, transportation and infrastructure, housing and quality of life. I would like to briefly summarize each of these committees Policy Statements & Recommendations from the 1990 plan.

Downtown Revitalization Committee

  • Establish “Downtown Bremen as the heart of the community
  • Upgrade the downtown public environment as a symbol of community pride, creating a pedestrian friendly and aesthetically pleasing downtown.

West End Commercial District Committee

  • Develop a district corridor plan to guide the public and private investments which reinforces the commercial districts sense of place. A subset of this recommendation was to develop a streetscape plan for this area of town.
  • Create a funding mechanism to generate infrastructure and improvements in the district.
  • Upgrade the edge and connections to adjacent land use. Work with property owners to improve this area.

Housing Committee

  • Provide opportunities for reinvestment and revitalization of existing older housing stock.

Transportation & Infrastrucure

  • Develop a “Thoroughfare Plan” for the Town of Bremen.
  • Improve the intersection of US 331 and US 6 to better accommodate truck access to the community.
  • Develop a landscaping plan for US 6 that creates a linear gateway and town edge.

Industrial Parks Committee

  • Upgrade existing industrial parks.
  • Evaluate role of Industrial and community development
  • Create an industrial development strategy that considers industrial diversity and environmental impacts.

Quality of Life Committee

  • Maintain and reinforce the small town atmosphere.
  • Reinforce the community celebrations and festivals.
  • Continue to look for opportunities to expand the relationship between the community and the school system through recreational and educational programs.
  • Stimulate the development of community pride through heritage and cultural enrichment activities.
  • Continue joint community programs sponsored by local churches.
  • Create a greenway system linking existing parks and open space.
  • Create a master plan for parks and recreational facilities.
  • Build a Community Center that facilitates a broad range of indoor activities.
  • Continue the development of youth and senior activities

Although many projects took place back in the early 1990’s it is interesting to note that our first ever Community Development Conference in January 2009 brought to light many of the very same concerns. Before I review these results there was another group of caring community leaders that did a Community Analysis in 2004, our Kiwanis Club of Bremen. In their survey they uncovered to many needs to cover in this article but there were some similarities such as; the need for a community center that could serve our youth and seniors alike, the need to promote industrial growth for new jobs, and more park programs.

So here we are in 2009 with the same high aspirations for our community to grow and prosper. The Bremen Chamber of Commerce is attempting to take a lead role in driving change for the better. The first step was our Community Development Conference which was a starting point to identify the Towns accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, external threats and prioritization of goals to enhance Bremen. I would like to summarize these under the headings of the 1990 BSU Plan to try and keep the grand plan in mind.

Downtown Revitalization

  • The group did not recognize any accomplishments.
  • The group identified one strength, the Towns low income housing downtown.
  • The weaknesses identified were an empty downtown, need to update the downtown lights, limited downtown parking, and lack of downtown directional signage.
  • The goal receiving the second most votes was the town needed to have a marketing plan that promoted Bremen as a destination.

West End Commercial District / Transportation & Infrastrucure

  • The group did not recognize any accomplishments.
  • The only strength discussed under this heading was a general comment about having a strong industrial base in Bremen for its size.
  • The number one goal voted on by the participants was to improve the Town Entrances which, of course, we have more than one that would require our attention.

Housing Committee / Quality of Life

  • The accomplishment and strengths identified are overwhelmingly relating to quality of life life in Bremen. From having a brand new state of the art hospital and now a Doctors Hospital to a new pool and tennis courts. The entire report can be read on line at www.bremenchamberofcommerce.com . The participants identified great parks, churches, our Community Foundation and United Way, or food pantry, and a soon to be relocated train station. The strengths continued until our facilitator from the State informed the group that we had identified more strengths than any other town she had facilitated in! This made me take pause and reflect on choosing to relocate here 10 years ago as being a wonderful idea.

As I have attempted to process all of this information I have come to some realizations; many leaders before us have contributed to Bremen becoming a place with more strengths than any other town in Indiana, and it will take strong leadership to continue adding to the list of strengths without having any fall off.

We at the Chamber are attempting to be a leader in change through our emphasis on uniting local businesses in an effort to advocate and support economic vitality while cultivating community prosperity and quality of life in Bremen. Based on the feedback we have received beginning in 1990 through our two sessions in 2009 we have added the following initiatives to our 2009 agenda;

  1. Take on the challenge of design, funding and implementation of an improvement to our town entrances. This would include the West Side at 106, North Side at 331, and the East Side near where the Depot will be housed.
  2. Develop a marketing plan for the Town of Bremen that will promote our town as a destination for business, individuals seeking a great place to live, and visitors that are looking for a town to visit
  3. Assist the Town of Bremen in developing a downtown redevelopment plan that will attract new investment and commerce.

We are hoping others from the community will come forward to assist us with these initiatives. Join us at our next Community Development Conference meeting on November 19th or call us at 546-2044 and speak to Trent Miles our Chamber Coordinator about how you can be of service.

Bill Davis

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