Mrs. Curl project delayed

City waffling on what rules apply for new building

An expanded, year-round Mrs. Curl Ice Cream shop proposed in downtown Greenwood is in limbo, held up by debate over what role the city should take in setting construction standards for the new building.

A plan to build a new Mrs. Curl shop was announced in February. The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission purchased homes at 1 and 21 E. Main St. at the southeast corner of Main and Meridian streets last year, and spent about $20,000 to demolish the homes on those properties.

Mrs. Curl owner John Cassin is negotiating with the city to either lease or purchase the 3.5 acres. The new location would allow for a second outdoor sales window, year-round indoor seating and an outdoor kids playground.

The hold-up is a disagreement between the Greenwood City Council and the redevelopment commission over what construction standards should be required for the property.

Before an ice-cream shop or any other commercial building can be constructed, the property, which was formerly two homes, will have to be rezoned from residential to commercial use.

As the owner of the property, the redevelopment commission has requested that it be rezoned to allow the construction of the new Mrs. Curl building at the site.

The city council, which must give final approval to any rezoning request, attached several conditions, choosing to limit the types of businesses that can use the property and setting additional construction standards such as the types of materials to be used and the amount of glass and windows.

The redevelopment commission now has to vote on whether it wants to abide by those restrictions on its property, or reject the rezoning request and start the process all over again, a decision that was postponed until its May meeting.

The five-member redevelopment commission is comprised of three members appointed by the mayor ā€” Brent Tilson, Mike Tapp and Bryan Harris ā€” and two members selected by the city council ā€” Chuck Landon and Mike Campbell, who also are city council members.

The redevelopment commission oversees the spending of property taxes collected by TIF, or tax increment financing districts, the funding source it used to purchase the property.

The concern from the trio of mayoral appointees was that the commitments might be to stringent and could limit what can be developed on the property.

The redevelopment commission, which hasn’t discussed the council’s requirements with Cassin yet, would want to meet with him prior to approving any of the commitments, Tilson said.

Debate over construction standards for the new Mrs. Curl location and the proposed Greenwood Iceplex in Freedom Park highlight what Tilson said has become a sticking point between the redevelopment commission and city council.

“We respect the fact that the council wants standards, and we want them too,” he said. “It should be flexible on a project-by-project basis.”

Cassin said he’s been left a bit confused by the process.

“Every week they solve one problem and create another,” he said. “Iā€™m kind of vexed.”

Still, the restrictions approved by the city council don’t appear to conflict with his initial designs for the building, Cassin said.

The reason the council chose these requirements is because it otherwise would not have any say on what the building ends up looking like, Campbell said.

The requirements were based on similar restrictions given to other downtown projects both in Greenwood and other communities, Greenwood city attorney Krista Taggart said.

The next step for Cassin is getting a loan and finalizing construction plans, steps he can’t take until rezoning is complete. His goal is for construction to begin this summer and finish by the end of the year.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.