Spring is coming! Of course, with spring comes new activities such as yard work, housework, and maintenance, both inside and outside. Speaking of working on houses, roofs, construction, etc. It is time to take another look around the city of Troy and all the construction, renovations and growth that is taking place.
Probably the first thing people notice as they come into Troy (depending upon the route you take) is the near completion of the new “Troy Hospital.” Right on W. Main St., on the site of the old Hobart Brothers Company building, the hospital is shaping up and beginning to look very nice. It is scheduled to open in the summer, possibly in June. Not too far away, other projects are in the works.
Just down the street from the hospital is the Troy-Miami County Public Library, which needs to expand and modernize its building to better serve the public. No concrete plans are in place yet, but, according to feedback, most of the residents like the library right where it is, so any design will need to expand the library’s overall space without losing too much parking area, which is already tight at times. That will be a challenge. A little further toward downtown another project is being planned for the courthouse plaza.
The county has been working on a plan to renovate the plaza because of uneven ground and deteriorating plaza pavers. The potential $3.5 million project seeks to remove and replace the steps and paving bricks, plus remove two existing fountains and place a new one in front of the old courthouse. Maintenance is a good plan, but with respect to the fountains, I hope they will reuse the old jail stone again, which is a nice tie to the history of the immediate vicinity.
Also downtown, some of the sidewalks, roads and parking spaces look like a graffiti-prone mathematician got loose with some multi-colored spray paint canisters. In actuality, the markings are preparatory work for a W. Main St. project. During the next several years the city will be changing W. Main St. from the downtown to the Interstate in an effort to streamline traffic flow and parking issues, as well as raise pedestrian and bicycle safety. The project will accomplished over several years and will cost upwards of $12 million. Widening the street to include a bike lane, as well as grass and tree strip along the road, will spruce up Troy’s main thoroughfare. I am sure it will not be fun to drive on Main during that time, but hopefully in the end everything will be worth it. Of course, not everything is happening on Main St.
Another large city project is the plan to renovate and rejuvenate the Sherwood Plaza. Grand plans are in the works to make it into a more attractive and diversified shopping area for both residents and visitors. The Sherwood area, which off the beaten path, as far as the highway and downtown are concerned, needs a good ‘shot in the arm,’ which will awaken its vibrancy.
An anticipated change in the Public Square is Haren’s Market moving to the old bank/M & R Drugs/Art Vault/David Fair building on the eastside of the Square. Mr. Haren has developed a nice meat market and grocery over the last eight years and is excited about expanding and bringing the market to historic downtown Troy. One of the reasons Connor and Hannah Haren want to move is that there are no grocery markets in the downtown for those who live in that area. It will provide a great attraction to visitors, and offer a unique goods and service for residents, and will be a great location for the business.
One note I would like to revisit is the Lins building. Last year I was a quick to mention that the structure was too modern for the cityscape. While there are still modern accents to the building, i.e., the rooftop patio, I do believe the overall building, with old style design, does fit the historic district fairly well.
Residential expansion continues, new businesses are arriving, the riverfront project is in the works, and other plans, I am sure, are not far away. The good news is: Troy is vibrant. The bad news could be: we might become a cookie-cutter image of other ‘cool places.’
I trust the city, its officials and its citizens will try to be vigilant about maintenance of old buildings and architectural themes as we go through this growth and expansion together. We can improve without losing our distinctive style. We don’t want to be like everyone else.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to email@example.com