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Benches will be placed in downtown

Discover Connersville is trying to makedowntown more attractive. FCN Bank has donated $700 to purchase a park bench that will be placed along Central Avenue, and the branch manager is chairing a campaign to raise funds to buy more benches. Posing with a replica check on Friday are, pictured from left, Carol Hunter, FCN vice president and area manager; Linda Finch, branch manager; Carolyn Bunzendahl, president of Discover Connersville; and Sharon McQueen, the organization’s director.

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

Within the year, park benches should be lining Central Avenue and other downtown streets.

That’s a project that Discover Connersville is working on. Friday, FCN Bank jump-started a campaign to raise money to buy the benches, donating $700 to purchase one.

“Discover Connersville is wanting to do the renovation of downtown,” said Carolyn Bunzendahl, president of the organization, which is affiliated with the Indiana Main Street program. “This is a kickoff for what we want to do.”

FCN Bank’s branch manager, Linda Finch, is chairing the Bench Challenge Promotion to raise money. The goal is to have at least two benches per block on Central Avenue sidewalks between Third and Ninth streets. Then, benches will be placed in other downtown locations, between West Western Avenue and Water Streets.

Union Savings and Loan Association and the city have committed to buying one bench each.

Wrought-iron benches with wood-look seats will be installed on the sidewalks to give downtown a more park-like appearance and provide visitors with places to relax. Each will have a small plaque giving the name of the business, group or person who donated it.

For information about buying a bench for the downtown, contact Finch at FCN Bank, 765-825-7251.

Bunzendahl said that Discover Connersville has been planning for the benches for a few months. Interestingly, some people attending the Enhancing Public Spaces workshop on April 3 said downtown would feel more welcoming with benches, reinforcing the idea that this is a worthwhile project.

Eventually, trash cans also will be put out, said Sharon McQueen, Discover Connersville’s executive director. The group also is working on a plan to paint the crosswalks with a railroad theme, tying into the Whitewater Valley Railroad.

In the next few weeks, the Fayette Garden Club will be putting flowers in the planters along the streets. Several businesses have volunteered in the Adopt-A-Planter program to water and weed the flowers.

A downtown cleanup is planned from 3 p.m. until dark on Friday, May 4, she said. On Saturday, May 19, Discover Connersville is sponsoring a progressive dinner, visiting three different businesses.