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Back to the 1900's: Downtown Bremen getting a retro face lift by 2020

BREMEN, Ind. ---- Out with the new and in with the old? By 2020, downtown Bremen will have a new look that some might recognize.

The Bremen Community Cares foundation is using grant money from the redevelopment commission to make downtown Bremen look just like it did before the 1960's and they’re even paying business owners to make it happen.

The idea is that if it’s going to cost $10,000 for the business owners to restore the early 1900's look, they’ll give them $5,000, or 50 percent of the costs, to do just that.

Matt Van Soest, president of the Bremen Community Cares foundation, said this is something the community has responded well to.

“Kind of going more to the historical sense of bricks and mortar,” Van Soest said.

There are also going to be some modern improvements.

“All the sidewalk streets, landscaping, benches, eating areas,  those are all going to be revamped to make this downtown to make it a destination for people to come and eat outside and mingle,” Van Soest said.

Historic preservation is the goal of the project along with boosting Bremen’s economy.

“The design is only a part of it, the economic heath is something we also look into,” Van Soest said.

The economic boost of a more aesthetic downtown is of the reason’s Kimberly Wilcox, the owner of The MeanBean coffee shop in the heart of downtown, is on board with the project.

“I am all for it. I hope it brings the younger generation into town,” Wilcox said. “I would much rather see older buildings used or reused than see new buildings come up.”

Kim’s storefront has already had some partial work done and the rest, she’s hoping will be completed this year. So far eight buildings have been completed under the project and there are four more buildings scheduled for a retro ace lift in 2019.

“We just want a beautiful downtown that people can work in, live in and play in,” Van Soest said.            

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