City to rename One Chamber Square


In less than two weeks on the job as Seymour’s new director of parks and recreation, Stacy Findley is already tasked with naming a shared community space.

Of course, she doesn’t plan to do that on her own. She has enlisted the parks and recreation board to help her come up with a new name for what is now known as One Chamber Square.

Located at the corner of South Chestnut Street and East St. Louis Avenue next to the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce building, the site is currently under construction as part of a $1 million renovation and streetscape project.

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The work is scheduled to be complete by May.

On Monday, the parks board discussed renaming the site Burkhart Plaza as a tribute to former Mayor John Burkhart, who passed away at the age of 80 on Dec. 13, 2019. Burkhart served as mayor of Seymour from 1990 to 2003.

Parks board President Gary Colglazier said he was in favor of the idea.

“I could go for that,” Colglazier said during a parks board meeting Monday. “I knew John for many years. He was a very good mayor and a very good person.”

The board tabled the matter and plans to vote on a new name at the Feb. 10 meeting.

One Chamber Square, which is owned and maintained by the city, was completed in the fall of 1987 at a cost of $170,000. It was part of an overall project costing around $1 million that included sidewalk and curb repair and the planting of trees in the downtown.

In December 2019, the city conducted a groundbreaking to improve and revitalize the site.

Schutte Excavating of Greensburg was chosen as the general contractor for the project, which was designed by HWC Engineering of Indianapolis.

Funding for the project is coming from a $590,000 state Community Development Block Grant along with $430,000 from the Seymour Redevelopment Commission, $10,000 from the Community Foundation of Jackson County, $5,000 from Seymour Main Street and $5,000 from the city’s economic development income tax fund.

One of the most important elements of the project is making the area accessible, said Becky Schepman, executive director of Seymour Main Street.

The old design had picnic tables set up in a pit area with concrete steps on the west and north sides but no ramp, making it difficult to navigate for wheelchairs and strollers, Schepman said.

Once complete, the area will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The pit will be filled in and made flat, and a curbless street design will be implemented similar to Fourth Street in Columbus.

Other features will include a sculptural Seymour sign, a trellis with bench swings, a seat wall, a turf-covered area with play features, tables and chairs, a music play area with interactive instruments and benches.

Findley said the new area will provide a lot of sensory play features for children and added seating for adults, including cafe-style tables and chairs to encourage people to eat their lunch there.

“It’s very inclusive and multigenerational,” she said. “I think it will really activate the downtown area.”

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