Local News

Greencastle business owners plan event to focus on positives during construction

With portions of downtown streets torn up for construction feet from The Whisk, owner Joel Everson approached the Greencastle City Council last week to talk about the US 231 construction and its impact on citizens,

"I don't believe it comes as a surprise to anyone on council that there is some construction happening downtown," Everson said. 

Everson told the council both he and his wife, Tosh, had a meeting with Greencastle Mayor Lynda Dunbar to discuss how The Whisk would like to host an event to help the community.

"The reality is it is a tough situation for a lot of downtown businesses and Tosh and I are incredibly fortunate. We've got literally the best guests in the entire world and the best community in the entire world. And, so, people are still coming. And we've not really, personally, seen an impact, but we've talked to a lot of other businesses that have," Everson said. 

Those discussions, as well as the conversation with Dunbar have shown there are some negative sentiments when it comes to the construction and the impact it is again having on merchants. That prompted both Everson and his wife to contemplate how they turn the negatives into a positive. 

And that is when a concept of a block party came about. 

"We really had the idea to do multiple things.We've had several meetings with other downtown local businesses, several of which are really frustrated, struggling and feeling, maybe, a little unseen. So one of the things we would like to do is actually have a fundraiser for local downtown businesses who are being impacted by the lack of business," Everson said. 

Everson continued with details, saying the benefit concert would be a ticketed event and they would partner with the Putnam County Community Foundation. 

"We could set up a fund through the Putnam County Community Foundation that could be drawn upon by any business who is having trouble paying their staff. I am really thinking about the Putnam Inn is getting hit right now, and they're going to get hit even harder in the next phase. In my opinion, what Chris and Rhonda have, and, obviously, Jane and the whole crew there, is an institute of Greencastle. It's been here 50 years. We have an obligation as a community to make sure it stays here. And, so, anyway we can help," Everson said. 

 

Discussion held over how to help, lack of communication 

Councilman Vincent Aguirre asked Everson what the city council could do to help downtown businesses. 

Everson said he doesn't believe anyone is mad with anyone within the city government with the construction that is happening. 

"We know we don't have control over that. I think where the frustration is there has been a lack of communication both as it happened before it happened. And then I think it'd be really great. It would mean the world if we saw people. It would be great if somebody came and knocked on the door and said, "how can we help?" Everson said. 

The communication piece didn't sit well with Councilman Darrel Thomas.

"Didn't we have community meetings?," Thomas asked, adding if there is a lack of communication and not knowing it is the business owners' fault. 

Everson said plans changed and that Dunbar and the Chamber of Commerce were aware of the changes and did not communicate it out. 

"Now, we can't do anything about that, can we? And I think everybody's okay with that because these things happen and they change quickly. And that's absolutely okay. But I think what we can do is learn from, maybe, our mistakes and take care of one another," Everson said. 

The council voted in favor of closing the street for the event, but did ask Everson call Dunbar to finalize the plans. 

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