Deluxe Corporation begins Wabash beautification projects

A new garden patio is under construction in the lot that once housed the Mammoth building at the corner of Canal and South Wabash streets. The patio will be open to the public and include seating, garden boxes, umbrellas for shade and a trash can. Photo by Emma Rausch

By Emma Rausch

Construction is underway at the corner of Wabash and Canal streets where a new garden patio will replace an empty gravel lot, the first of several Deluxe Corporation beautification projects to come this summer.

Renovations on the lot, which once housed the Mammoth building, began Tuesday, June 28, but the project has been in development for quite some time, according to Shelby McLaughlin, Wabash Marketplace Inc. project manager.

“I’m really excited about Mammoth lot,” McLaughlin told The Paper of Wabash County in a phone interview. “That is something I know (the) Public Art (Committee) has been trying to work on for a while to get the funding to do something cool there and Deluxe graciously decided to pick that project up.”

In May, Wabash won the Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution competition and a $500,000 revitalization to the downtown area.

However, since winning, representatives from the Minnesota-based company have worked with local community leaders and business owners to utilize the award to provide strategic marketing plans and advice, which was determined to be more essential to helping the Wabash community.

Nevertheless, “Christine Flohr and I have been working hard with Deluxe to figure out aesthetic projects for downtown donated by Deluxe,” McLaughlin said.

The patio will be a public space with seating, umbrellas for shade and “beautiful” garden boxes, she continued.

Eventually, WMI hopes that it’ll be the new home for all of the donor bricks found in downtown Wabash, according to McLaughlin.

“The city has decided to do stamp bricks downtown and we just want a safe home for all of those bricks that have been purchased by donors and I think that’s the safest bet,” she explained. “Salt is a huge deterioration (factor) for those bricks and if they were in a park kind of like that, we wouldn’t be salting it. So that would be nice to get those bricks to last as long as possible.”

As of right now, she continued, the plain bricks will be laid to complete the lot.

“(The patio will) be done in two weeks,” she said during the interview on Wednesday, June 29. “Other projects will start in the next six to eight weeks … but there’s going to be really cool aesthetic projects going on.”

However, when asked about what other projects Deluxe has in store for Wabash, McLaughlin said much of the details are under lock and key.

“I don’t want to give away too much. I want people to get excited,” she explained.

The projects will involve Canal and Market alley as well as several businesses receiving “cool” signage among other things, she said.

“Just keep a lookout in the next six to eight weeks as construction continues to happen,” McLaughlin advised. “There’s a lot of good things going on downtown and we’re so thankful from the bottom of our hearts for Deluxe and their willingness to invest and improve our community.

“I think that there’s more to come. I think this could be a ripple effect of people investing in their buildings, community and to beautify even more.”

Posted on 2016 Jul 05