Crawfordsville’s Stellar plans are becoming more and more of a reality with the opening of Fusion 54.
Mayor Todd Barton called it a “milestone” as he spoke to those gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and public open house Monday outside the former PNC Bank Building and home to Fusion 54.
“It’s a very exciting day and it’s an exciting day that’s been a long time coming,” Barton said. “Today we reach a milestone, not only in our Stellar community journey, but a milestone as a community. Fusion 54 will forever change how we promote and develop this community, and it creates a model from which other communities can learn.”
Fusion 54 is the cornerstone of the Stellar Project initiative and first major project completed since the city was named a recipient of the Stellar Communities Designation Program in August 2015.
With Fusion 54, a number of community organizations and a variety of resources are now under the same roof. The Montgomery County Visitors Bureau occupies the first floor with PNC Bank and the Co-Working Center takes up the second floor with nearly 6,000 square feet of work space, including large and small offices. The Wabash College Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship and Democracy and Public Discourse project is located on the entire third floor.
The fourth floor is home to the Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Economic Development, Crawfordsville Main Street and the Montgomery County Leadership Academy.
“The concept behind Fusion 54 was born out of the realization that there were many good organizations working hard to move our community forward,” Barton said. “But they were scattered around the community in different places and they were each doing their own thing with very little thought of working collectively.”
Original plans for Fusion 54 were to build a two-story, 20,000 square-foot facility on a vacant lot at South Washington Street and Central Avenue for about $4 million. Before construction began, however, total estimated costs had risen to about $6 million. As an alternative, the city purchased the former PNC Bank Building in the spring of 2017. Work began that fall, and because previous owners did very little upkeep work to the building, major demolition was required on each floor, and the heating and cooling system as well as the roof had to be replaced.
Dale Petrie, Crawfordsville’s director of operations, saw everything come to fruition as the one who managed the projects progress up until it was completed last month. Since the last week of August, 22 different events have been held at Fusion 54.
“It’s been a pleasure for me to work on this,” Petrie said. “This project has been really nothing but fun. I don’t think I said that all the time, but it has been and I’m honored to have been a part of it.”