The building adjacent to Upland Town Hall, located on Main Street, was torn down after it was deemed unsalvageable by the Indiana Historical Society.
“Initially we brought in a representative from the Indiana Historical Society to see if the building was salvageable after sitting vacant for many years prior to our ownership,” Jonathan Perez, Upland town manager, said. “The building was not in a condition to be saved.”
The building was then condemned by the Grant County Area Plan Commission and utilized funds within their demolition budget to pay for the tear down.
Perez said the purpose in this was to get the site ready for new development to begin to form in downtown Upland. Developers and potential tenants are still discussing further steps on what to do with the space.
The building also contained a mural painted on the side. According to Perez, the previous owners of the small building had worked with Tashema Davis, a regional artist, in the creation of that mural.
“Once we acquired the building, we notified the artist and explained the circumstances,” Perez said. “She was very understanding and gracious to our circumstances.”
Davis is currently the artist of 17 murals around the area. She was asked by the previous business owner to paint something in response to the death of George Floyd.
Prior to the demolition, professional photos of the mural were done by the town to document the art so that it can live on. Perez intends to present the artist, the former owners of the building, and the town with a framed photo of the art to fulfill that purpose.
Moving forward as the downtown area develops, Perez would love for the town to work with the previous artist as well as others on future mural projects as they are identified.
“I would be more than willing to work on future projects in the downtown area if given the opportunity,” Davis said. “I love painting murals! Outdoor murals give everyone the opportunity to engage in a work of art whether they love it or not.”
Upland locals like junior Jenna King are excited at the possibility of new development.
King has been a resident of Upland for her whole life and believes that a push toward growth and development by either of those means is valuable for the town.
“In cases such as the demolition of this building, I do think that the next steps taken are significant,” King said. “There’s a space open from the demolition, and I’ll be interested to see how it’s filled.”
In her time in Upland, she has seen lots of empty plots where buildings were demolished, admitting that it may be better than an old, unused, and possibly unsafe building.
However, King said there are so many more opportunities to work toward growth in Upland.
“The small building adjacent to the one we initially owned had been in ongoing negotiations for years for the sake of future development,” Perez said. “Prior to the assistance of the Grant County Area Plan with the demo, the cost to tear down the larger building and leave the smaller one standing was more expensive than buying the small building and tearing them both down.”
This plan was deemed to be the most beneficial option in terms of cost savings and allowed for a bigger site for any future development downtown.
According to Perez, the town is currently securing quotes to get the building’s footing removed in order to get the site ready to be developed and built upon.