If it is true that a characteristic of an adventurous person is the habit of not taking the same route to an often-traveled destination, I must be fairly adventurous. My 4.3-mile commute to work Downtown can involve the Lloyd Expressway, Walnut Street, Lincoln Avenue, and Interstate 69. And that doesn’t figure in the shortcuts and side streets. (Note: After writing this in the morning, I was afforded a nice chat in the afternoon with a fine gentleman from the Indiana State Police on I-69. Wrong route, wrong day.)
And is it just me, or does your day sometimes seem like one long continuous errand involving kids, coffee, food, Walgreens, banking, and occasionally work-related items? (I try to keep that last item to a minimum.) I see a lot of our city … daily.
I recently have found myself increasingly using Walnut Street going home, as so many nice road improvements have been made Downtown and by the Stone Family Center for Health Sciences and then again across Highway 41 and east to the University of Evansville campus. The new brickwork creating a plaza effect on Walnut Street — along with the university’s yet-unnamed new residence hall, Ridgway Center, and the Fifth Third Basketball Practice Facility, and the recent removal of the abandoned tennis courts that had become an eyesore but now are pleasant green space — makes this route more appealing.
This winter, I regularly have passed by two large campus lots that are being readied for their next chapter at the university. I was curious about this and thought both of you might be as well. Located at the busy corner of Lincoln and Weinbach avenues will be what I am sure is an excellent addition to the campus and community. Lincoln Commons is a mix of multi-bedroom apartments with 3,500 square feet of retail space and an outdoor patio, which will likely become a popular university gathering spot. Several buildings, none with any redeeming history or architectural significance, were torn down to make room.
Adjacent to Lincoln Commons on the south side of Lincoln Avenue are older buildings being razed to make space for around 100 parking spaces to support the new residences. Construction is due to start in late February, and students are expected to move in for the fall 2024 semester.
Also catching the attention of many passersby farther up South Weinbach Avenue is the preparation of the property at the corner of Walnut Street where Hughes Hall formerly sat. The two-story, 70,000-square-foot, impressively “rendered” wellness center slated for this space will turn the adjacent Carson Center over to student athletes with the exception of the pool, which is available to everyone. It will be privately funded through donations and proceeds from a land sale of university property at the Lloyd Expressway and Stockwell Road. Built in 1962, Carson Center in turn will receive a much-needed renovation.
Well, Mr. Excitement here decided to leave the friendly confines of my residence a few weeks ago and go to a Friday night high school basketball game, Memorial vs. Harrison at the Warriors’ gym. There are so many good things at a high school game, if you just look: families cheering for athletes and cheerleaders, alumni showing up to support their school, student sections packed and the kids having fun with back-and-forth smack talk. The excitement of the players, students, and the raucous crowd made for a terrific evening and a great game. I might just have to go crazy and leave the house again.
It really is the simple things that are the best. A high school basketball game.
As always, I look forward to hearing from most of you.
Todd A. Tucker, President