BICKNELL, Ind. (WTHI) - Bicknell has been working on its roads and blighted homes for nearly a year. Many roads in town have been repaved. Downtown road work was thanks to a Community Crossings grant. The city has been working on a five-block section of Main Street.
While the roads have improved the mayor says updates to curbing are needed. The city has approved an internal loan to pay for the upgrades. Basically, this means the city is borrowing money from one fund to pay another. Bicknell mayor Thomas Estabrook says funds will be repaid within thirty months.
Estabrook says, "It's probably one of the best investments that we can put in because anybody who comes to Bicknell most likely comes off the highway and uses Main Street."
Bicknell is addressing the housing issue in two ways. The city currently has a blight elimination program. Estabrook says the city is currently working to tear down about 15 homes.
While some homes are being torn down the city will also make upgrades to others. Bicknell will make upgrades to eleven homes in city limits. This includes upgrades to windows, roofs, and heating and air conditioning systems. The mayor says these upgrades hope to bring up property values in town.
Estabrook says, "A lot of the emphasis behind it is, is it allows folks who own their own home. Who want to stay in their own home. To be able to seek funding for improvements they may not have otherwise been able to afford."
Jeany Wright works at the Short Twig Cafe in downtown Bicknell. She says she's ready to see the construction wrap up.
Wright explains, "I'm ready to see Main Street really look nice. Because I think they're going to do a good job once they get done."