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Student-led study recommends new housing on E. Market Street

CORRIDOR: A student-led study by Manchester University recommends building new townhouses along the East Market Street corridor.

by MACKENZI KLEMANN - mklemann@wabashplaindealer.com

Manchester University students on Monday presented the Wabash City Council with informal recommendations to revive the East Market Street corridor with new housing and streetscape initiatives connecting the downtown area to Paradise Spring Historical Park.

Students identified several problems for the corridor, which extends from the Wabash Street intersection toward Paradise Spring Historical Park. Among those problems were a shortage of attractive, single family homes, and a discontinuity between the downtown area and the park.

Another major factor was Wabash’s aging population.

Students recommended renovating the old hotel into a quadplex and to demolish remaining homes on the block, replacing them with townhouses. The group also recommended extending streetscape renovations from the western portion of Market Street all the way to Paradise Spring Historical Park, creating a continuous aesthetic.

The project was undertaken by Manchester University public policy students, led by political science professor and Dean of Education and Social Sciences Leonard Williams in collaboration with the City.

While the proposal is not under formal consideration, several City leaders say the ideas are worth considering as they are in line with the City’s overall goal to attract younger families.

“The City will be able to use the study in conjunction with the housing study being performed by (High Performance Government Network) to assist us in determining the true housing needs of Wabash,” Long told the Plain Dealer. “I believe this presentation further supports the efforts of my local housing committee and the work being performed by HPG.”

Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of Grow Wabash County says he’d like to share the ideas with the City’s housing task force. But the City would need to do further investigation before undertaking any of the suggestions.

“It’s not a large area to take on,” he said. “It bears looking into. It’s certainly a project I have a lot of interest in.”