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April 6, 2014

Open spaces on table for east side

Regulatory measures required to dictate future of mall land

A three-day planning charrette concluded Saturday drawing public input that has resulted in the beginnings of a plan aiming to replace the Logansport Mall with outdoor spaces surrounded by retail outlets and restaurants and bringing townhouses to the city's east side.

About 30 people attended the last session of the workshop, which since Thursday has been led by Larry Dillin, who owns Dillin Capital Investments out of Austin, Texas, and James Paresi, owner of Paresi Design Studio out of Santa Ana, Calif.

City residents, business leaders and officials all provided input that Dillin and Paresi compiled to come up with a rough sketch of what the future of the land under and around the mall could be.

Dillin said the sketch is "far from final, but reflective of the comments we received back from everyone."

Feedback contributing to the sketch included comments that were less keen on architecture and more favorable toward elements Dillin said are "things that really call value to outdoor spaces."

Attendees of the charrette had the opportunity to observe about 70 photographs of design elements Dillin and Paresi have either worked on in the past or admire. Among the most favored by attendees were photos of a life-size chessboard, outdoor fireplace, a statue and pavement pathways exuding a diagonal brushstroke on its surface.

From this, Dillin and Paresi propose a plan that would replace the Logansport Mall with "interesting outdoor spaces" surrounded by retail outlets and restaurants while designing those open spaces so they could be used any time of the year.

Regarding the year-round aspect, Dillin referred to a similar project he had worked on in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is a similar distance from the Earth's equator as Logansport, leading it to have similar conditions during its winters. Dillin said outdoor spaces created as a part of that project can be enclosed and heated during the city's colder months.

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