Kouts putting on a pretty face in downtown

2013-03-03T00:00:00Z Kouts putting on a pretty face in downtownBy Phil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

KOUTS | If building permits for new homes are any indication, the word is out that Kouts is the place to live.

Council President Tim Jones said the end of last year and the beginning of this year  have shown an increase in permits, which he called encouraging news.

"With the tax situation, it is becoming more attractive for folks to come to south Porter County," Jones said.

The town is doing its best to prepare for the expected growth and to encourage more of it. In 2012, the town upgraded Drazer Park by expanding the parking area and adding a picnic pavilion. Jones said the council plans to work with the Economic Development Commission to continue those improvements and add a second park.

Drazer could be in line for new playground equipment this year while the town is looking at buying land near downtown for a new park. Jones said it could contain both picnic and playground equipment while also providing a village green area for events.

The second phase of the downtown beautification project, which featured new sidewalks, decorative streetlights, new signage and bike racks, was completed last year. Jones said a third phase is planned that would expand those improvements east and west of Main Street when funding is available, possibly later this year or in 2014.

After a company expressed interest in relocating to Kouts, officials put together a packet of information about what the town has to offer businesses. Jones said the company ultimately decided to locate somewhere else, but the town plans to make good use of the packet as promotional material to try to attract others.

The material was geared more to heavy commercial and light industry rather than retail. The Kouts Chamber of Commerce is working on ways to attract more businesses, especially retail, while trying to enhance existing businesses.

"Our facade grant program is doing well, and we want to continue and expand that," he said.

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