Riverfront district from tiny Greenwood creek to spur restaurant growth

Tiny Pleasant Creek could mean big business for the City of Greenwood. (WTHR photo)
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GREENWOOD, Ind. (WTHR) - Greenwood wants to build restaurants that can sell booze on its riverfront.

But the city doesn't have a riverfront. Right?

Wrong.

Pleasant Creek, a tiny stream that runs through the city (and looks more like a drainage ditch than a river) helped Greenwood create a Riverfront Development District, which means more liquor licenses available for approval and - they hope - more development.

Revery in downtown Greenwood is known for great food and drinks.

"We're one of the few places that serves a good cocktail down here," said owner Mark Henrichs.

They were also lucky when they opened in 2014. The restaurant was able to secure one of the city's three-way liquor licenses, so they could serve beer, wine and hard liquor.

Getting one now? Good luck.

The licenses are limited by a city's population, which is only updated every ten years through the census. A push to add more liquor licenses in Greenwood, Bargersville and a couple of other Indiana cities didn't go anywhere in the 2018 legislative session.

"Right now they're very difficult," Henrichs said, "very, very difficult."

But the flow of liquor licenses in Greenwood is about to change, thanks to an unexpected source.

"A creek," laughed Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers. "It's a creek and that creek is a blessing."

The small stream, Pleasant Creek, allowed Greenwood to create a riverfront district for economic development. Unlimited liquor licenses come with that designation, approved by the state.

"It meets the state law. It's flowing body of water," Myers explained. "We're allowed to go 1,500 feet out of the floodway which encompasses all this area here. But not only that but also all of the old downtown, as well."

The heart of Greenwood could look very different thanks to Pleasant Creek.

"Right now it looks like a creek, but I've seen the plans, the drawings, and they're really going to explode that and it's going to be very, very cool with the vision that the city has with that area behind me," Henrichs added.

The area the city anticipates will benefit most from that district is between Meridian Street and Madison Avenue on the old Greenwood Middle School property.

That's where the city is planning major retail, residential and restaurant development. Myers said downtown will benefit, too, and says he'll now be able to lure higher-end eateries because of those liquor licenses.

"We have a couple restaurants that are wanting to go into the downtown area that's existing. They couldn't do it without the permit and now they have that possibility and it's really opened us up for a lot more," Myers said.

Henrichs says he plans to get another liquor permit, in addition to Revery's, to open a second bar and restaurant - a "bread bar" he calls it. And he says they welcome competition, too.

"The more restaurants the better, just hopefully not another restaurant exactly like Revery. We'd like some diversity," Henrich said. "This place is primed. This area's super primed to really blow up."

The city thinks so, too - big expectations, a lot of which are made possible from a tiny waterway.

Plus, it's not just downtown Greenwood benefiting from the designation. Myers said Pleasant Creek, and therefore the new riverfront district, extends all the way to State Road 135.

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