Bluffton and Ossian officials today presented their vision for an outdoor plaza and combination pavilion/amphitheater to the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority.
The communities are requesting $423,183 from the RDA to bring the $2.1 million project, known as Grow Wells County, over the financial finish line. The board is expected to vote on the application as early as next month.
The RDA was formed to distribute the $42 million in Regional Cities Initiative funds to projects within the 11 counties that joined to vie for the state dollars.
The outdoor plaza would be beside the Wells County Courthouse in downtown Bluffton on a lot now occupied by a building damaged in a November 2011 fire. A retailer doing business on the first floor would be relocated.
The pavilion/amphitheater would be in Ossian's Archbold Wilson Park, a 60-acre property near Ossian Elementary School. The revamped park also would include 5 acres of wild flowers, a playground, an 18-hole disc golf course and a hillside-sitting area for the amphitheater.
The pavilion portion of the building would include restrooms and a concessions area.
Numerous projects – large and small – have requested and received a share of the Regional Cities Initiatives money. They include The Landing, The Clyde Theatre and phase 1 of riverfront development in Fort Wayne; an aquatics center in Columbia City; an early learning center in Manchester; an outdoor recreation center in Kendallville; and a network of connected trails across the region.