Weatherford Democrat

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January 23, 2013

Talk of the (down)town

Citizens can click their input on direction of city’s central business district

By BRIAN SMITH

“Where do we go from here?

City officials and Historic Preservation Committee members want to know citizen thoughts on how they think the downtown Weatherford area looks and what can be done to improve it.

The HPC met in mid-January and wanted to go in a new direction with the downtown area. A steering subcommittee, entitled the Downtown Weatherford Committee, was formed, consisting of business and community members, HPC committee members and city staff.

Director of Planning and Development Craig Farmer said the newly formed subcommittee wants to get community input and is hosting a town hall-style meeting 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Cotten-Bratton Building, located at 113 College Ave. on the downtown square.

What makes the meeting kind of interesting is there will be at least 200 clicker devices used to get instant results to a number of questions shown on a screen, Farmer said.

“We will show some images of what we have planned and those attending will be able to vote right there,” Farmer said.

“No one will know how an individual voted either. It is democracy in action.”

Farmer said many of the meeting items need to be discussed to continue revitalizing downtown while maintaining its historic character. Meeting facilitator Karen Walz has worked on the revitalization of the Denton downtown and has had good results.

The HPC has done a lot of work with a number of city groups in getting ideas of what downtown needs and doesn’t need. That information has the city knowing it’s heading in the right direction. Now it’s time for a consensus, according to Main Street and Special Projects Coordinator Kim Thieme.

“We need to have citizen input to determine where we need to go with this,” Thieme said.

“We want everyone on the train,” Farmer said. “We have no idea where the community information will lead us, but we will be taking the information and incorporating it into our plan.”

Farmer said having the information available for instant use helps speed the process along.

“We may just need to tweak a few things (from other groups) or it may be a reboot,” Farmer said. “When we figure out where we’re going, it is always easier to change incrementally and know you have everyone’s ideas.”

To reserve one of the 200 clickers, contact Kandi Lee at 817-598-4211 or email her at klee@weatherfordtx.gov.

 

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