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UK students present downtown designs

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By Kelly Cantrall

Students from the University of Kentucky envision downtown Elizabethtown as a place to shop, eat and spend time in the outdoors, according to the ideas they presented to interested parties this week.

The ideas for downtown created by the UK students who took part in a charrette earlier this month were presented at an Elizabethtown downtown revitalization meeting Thursday night at the Historic State Theater. The meeting was the last part of the charrette process, which is where designers and others develop and plan ideas to serve as solutions to problems.

Students from the architecture, interior design and historic preservation departments took suggestions from the community and learned about the needs and wants for downtown. Areas of downtown were split to become multiple projects for students.

In the plans, space at 100 E. Dixie Ave. turned into a microbrewery and a brick-oven pizza eatery, with a rooftop patio bar that could host live music. A wellness center, gym and spa were at 69 Public Square. The building at 133 W. Dixie Ave. turned into a restaurant/café with an outdoor space. The downtown trail and the Herb Jones property fleshed out into a park and a pavilion was added to Pocket Park.

UK student Matthew Jacobs said the outdoor space could become a destination in downtown.

“This will once again be the heart of the community and bring people back together,” Jacobs said.

UK student Sarah Moyer noted the drawings they presented were just ideas of possible layouts for the buildings.

Jacobs said seeing the Historic State Theater renovation was an example of work that already was taking place in downtown, and what could be achieved in the future.

“(I was) just really blown away to see how well it’s been done,” he said.

Jim Pritchard, vice president of Brockington and Associates in Elizabethtown, said at the meeting many of the ideas were ones that previously were discussed. He said it reaffirmed the direction the Heritage Council and City of Elizabethtown are taking with the area.

“It’s nice that you didn’t throw these things upside down,” he said.

Christy Pritchard, chairwoman of the council, said it was nice to have renderings of those ideas, to give people a visual representation of what could be in downtown.

“I felt really good and happy about what they presented,” Pritchard said.

She said the charrette served as a way of refreshing the creative juices surrounding downtown revitalization. She hopes the next step is to bring in some outside developers interested in tackling some of the projects.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.