Being born and raised in Evansville, I've seen the riverfront, and downtown in general, undergo an impressive transformation making the area an entertainment, shopping, and dining destination for residents thanks to the work of the past few mayoral administrations and the Downtown Evansville Economic Improvement District. But as the old saying goes, "There's always room for improvement" (at least I think that's an old saying), and the company behind the massive redesign of the riverfront is giving you a chance to chime in with what specifically you'd like to be a part of it.

What is the Ohio River Vision and Strategic Plan (ORVSP)?

In May, the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (E-REP) announced it had selected landscape architecture firm, Sasaki to lead the $900,000 project. While I've mentioned Evansville specifically, the project actually covers the entire stretch of river from Mt. Vernon to Newburgh and includes a few key areas of focus including, downtown Mt. Vernon, Burdette Park on Evansville's west side, and the Newburgh Lock and Dam, among others.

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Additionally, Sasaki will also look at the Dress Plaza area as a site for "potential development opportunities," as well as the Angel Mounds boat ramp, and the future location of the I-69 bridge that will be built east of the Twin Bridges over the next several years.

Earlier this summer, the company began the first phase of the project, which it called the "Discovery and Goal Setting" phase. The phase included an online survey inviting the public to share ideas they had for things they wanted to be prioritized in the redesign.

The results of the survey showed the following to be the top priorities among residents who completed the survey:

  1. Quality of Life
  2. Investment in Parks & Spaces
  3. Recreation & Community Activities
  4. Economic Improvement
  5. Environmental Quality
  6. Riverfront Activation & Programming

In order to achieve those priorities, those who responded believe the plan needs to include the following items:

  1. Entertainment & Events
  2. Open Space & Parks
  3. Community Culture & Arts
  4. Housing
  5. Retail / Food & Beverage
  6. Sports & Recreation

You can read the complete summary of the initial survey results on the ORVSP website.

ORVSP Launches Second Online Survey

Now that they have an idea of what you're looking for, Sasaki has moved into phase two of the project, what it calls the "Planning and Design" phase, and once again, they are looking for you to share the specific types of things you'd like to see in relation to the needs mentioned above.

The survey features several questions, each with a number of statements you're asked to rearrange based on their priority to you.

You can visit the survey to share your opinion here.

25 Hidden Evansville Secrets That May Blow Your Mind

An Evansville resident recently posted a question in the "I Grew Up in Evansville, Indiana" Facebook group asking other members to share any hidden or little-known facts about our city not many residents would know. The answers were wide-ranging, covering everything from our manufacturing history to our place in Civil War, to a couple of popular landmarks still standing today that were the first in the entire state of Indiana. No matter how long you've lived here, chances are there will be a few things on this list you didn't know about the city we call home.

Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan

See How Downtown Evansville Has Changed Over the Years

I find looking back on the way things used to be fascinating. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm living through the current time period. The conveniences of answering any question we have in seconds, or ordering practically anything we want or need and having it delivered to our doorstep is pretty sweet. But, there is something fun about seeing how things around us have evolved. As an Evansville native, and spending quite a bit of my time in downtown Evansville (that's where the station is located), I've always appreciated the older architecture of the buildings around the area. So, I dug into the Willard Library Archives to see how a few of those areas look now compared to then. Some have changed a little, others quite a bit, and a few don't even exist any more. Take a look.

Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan

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