This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mainstreet meeting

On Thursday evening there was a meeting of the Rensselaer Mainstreet group and because the public was invited, I decided it would be fun to go. State Representative Doug Gutwein was there and sat down next to me, so I asked him what was happening with redistricting. Rensselaer will have a new congressman after 2012. The first congressional district, Pete Visclovsky's district, gains some territory to the east and loses three rural counties, Jasper, Newton, and Benton. I found a map on the Internet of proposed districts, and it may be what was enacted. And Rensselaer will have two state senators after 2012. The dividing line for the districts splits Rensselaer. I have not found that map.

I also learned that two thirds of the writing staff for the Rensselaer Republican is leaving. It will be interesting to see how those positions will be filled.

Rensselaer Mainstreet is hopeful that a grant will soon be approved that will fund improvements to Austin Park, including a bridge from the city parking lot across the river. (The plan is to move the old bowstring bridge north of Laird's Landing. However, it is not long enough to cross the span, so it will form only the central part of the new pedestrian bridge.) There was also discussion of proposed improvements to Hanley Park (which I cannot picture--I will have to wait and see what they do.) There was some annoyance on the part of a few people that the Talbert Bridge is not finished. Apparently quite a few folks are already using it despite the "No Trespassing" signs--I have been good and not done so. Also planned for Bicentennial Park are a new shelter and a sidewalk that will connect the bridge to Washington Street. And a representative from Remington's new Mainstreet group was welcomed. In their efforts to improve Remington, they have started a Friday night Farmers Market.

Then it was time for the featured attraction, a tour of the future Embers event hall. Below you can see most of the group getting ready to enter the building.
The building has been cleaned out but there is still a lot of work to do. Several things that I had not seen in previous visits caught my attention. Below is part of an old elevator that once was in the building. It was a hand operated elevator--I recall one from my days in high school in Minnesota. Features like this one will be preserved and highlighted.
Also on the second floor was an old heating stove. I might have seen it previously, but I do not remember it.
The nameplate reads, "Sanitary Hot Blast RoomFurnace Indianapolis Stove Co. Here is a bit about the company.
In the front part of the second floor, the old ceiling, which was in terrible shape, had mostly been torn down, exposing the old wiring (which looks a lot like the old wiring in my house.) After insulation is added, a new drywall ceiling will be installed.
The people of Mainstreet are making Rensselaer a more attractive place to live.

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