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MICHIGAN CITY — Construction could begin this year on a plaza for hosting concerts and other special events in Michigan City’s downtown.

Room for a plaza started being created last year when two buildings that were once home to Woolworth’s department store and Kreske’s at 7th and Franklin streets were torn down.

Don Babcock, president of the city’s redevelopment commission, said overhead utility wires in an alley beside the site are being relocated to make the plaza more aesthetically pleasing.

Talks are also being held with surrounding landowners to potentially acquire more ground and make use of existing properties for things like additional parking and activities that complement the plaza, Babcock said.

"We hope to make some more investments in the property yet later on this year," Babcock said.

An elevated stage and a building for concessions and restrooms are anticipated.

A splash pad, fire pits, decorative lighting and portable ice skating rink are also under serious consideration.

Babcock said some construction should occur this year, but no date has been set for total completion of the plaza.

"We’d like downtown Michigan City to be the place to be year-round," Babcock said

The site, despite being nothing more than just level ground right now, has already seen limited use.

The fourth annual Shelf Ice Brew Fest scheduled for Feb. 18, for example, was to be held in and around that location for the second consecutive year.

A plaza is among the strategies undertaken the past several years that have brought a noticeable increase in activity and occupied storefronts to the downtown, also known as the Uptown Arts District.

Converting the old Warren Building downtown into more than 40 housing units for artists last year is among the latest moves to further the revitalization.

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