Hot dog! Downtown revamp starts cooking in Frankfort
FRANKFORT, Ind. (WISH) — Construction work can finally start on a massive project in the heart of downtown Frankfort following years of planning and months of difficult demolition.
A ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday morning clears the way for Clinton County’s new Annex Building.
Developers say it will have three stories above ground, a new basement, and nearly 41,000 square feet of space. It will be home to nearly all county matters outside of the court system.
Many people just got their first look at the project site in the last two weeks during the city’s signature “Hot Dog Festival”, because vendors and stages sat directly alongside the block where the work is happening.
The building is going up on a large lot at Main Street and Washington Street, where a Regions bank building used to stand. Work to clear the site started back in the spring and included some painstaking turns during the process.
“If it feels like it took a long time to bring the old building down, that’s because it did,” Dale Davis, the Director of Planning at Envoy, the company managing the project, said. “The old Regions bank was four buildings cobbled together over the years. The first three buildings were brought down with earth moving equipment.”
The fourth building proved more difficult. Davis says it shared a load-bearing wall with the Arni’s restaurant next door, so workers had to remove material by hand, brick-by-brick.
“If we pulled on the wrong floor joist, the wall could have gone with it. It was an incredibly tedious and complicated demolition,” Davis said.
According to the county, the new Annex Building will not be directly connected to Arni’s, but will instead have a few inches of separation.
As for the basement, developers say the walls of the old building will stay in place to prevent buckling or collapsing of nearby streets, but the new version will be twice as deep.
Heavy construction work is set to start in later this month and will take an estimated 14 months, with the Annex opening in the fall of 2024.
At the same time, crews will give the County Courthouse a makeover. The plan includes new lighting and repairs to the brickwork, windows, and roof. Planners say scaffolding will cover the courthouse during the renovation.
“But we see this as a generational investment,” says Jordan Brewer, president of the Clinton County Commissioners. “We want to do it right so future residents can continue to enjoy the building’s grandeur.”