Posts Tagged ‘revitalization’

On Monday, a packed room of Village residents received news and viewed renderings for the long-awaited downtown streetscape project. Landscape architecture firm Munz Associates delivered the presentation. The Village is aiming to begin the project in spring 2013 with an 18-month construction period when crews will replace sidewalks and road surfaces. The project focuses on Broadway to Broad Street, New Main Street to Clove Avenue, and Main Street to 2nd Street. Heritage streetlamps made of dark green concrete were chosen. The street tree of choice is the Honey Locust. Individual parking meters will be removed and replaced with a digital muni-meter system. Sidewalks will include a band of brick along the curb and feature “bulb-outs” at Broadway and New Main Street in order to shorten crosswalks for pedestrian safety and convenience. Benches and decorative planters will grace the sidewalks and serve as gathering places for shoppers, diners, and residents. Oversized and decorative cast iron tree grates will surround street trees. Utility poles, a source of controversy over past years, will stay in place but crews will replace them with taller fiberglass poles in order to raise electric and phone lines above building facades. Residents raised concerns that the streetscape plan did not fully address the growing bicycling movement in the region. Some called for bike parking provisions – utilizing old parking meter poles as bike racks. Overall, the project is a step in the right direction and a welcome improvement to the Village’s downtown. It sets a clear foundation for further improvement and increased pedestrianization in the future. Some images/renderings from the meeting:

I’ve been studying urban revitalization for some time now. The myths and secrets about economic growth, revitalization, real estate and change in urban areas are plentiful. To understand how your community might develop into one of those places you’ve dreamed of living in and why certain places ascend, and other places decline, it helps to read works by the top experts in the field. I have found that I’ve learned so much reading the likes of Jane Jacobs, Robert Caro or Richard Florida. New ideas have arisen over urban growth and revitalization just in the last ten years. It really helps to keep up on these issues. If our politicians really understood the fundamentals of diverse and vibrant downtowns, then the future of our communities could be very different. Here are my suggested readings:

THE BIBLES OF URBAN PLANNING & SHAPING OUR CITIES:

ALL OTHERS INFLUENCED BY THE ABOVE:

There are more to read, but these are the essentials. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!