Weatherford Democrat

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October 30, 2013

After final public input session, downtown plan now goes to P&Z

By BRIAN SMITH

In the eyes of Weatherford residents and business owners, city officials are on the right track with the downtown plan.

Residents were allowed to voice their opinions on what officials say is the right way to revitalize the downtown area during a public meeting Monday night at the Cotten-Bratton Building.

It was during a February town hall style meeting that about 125 residents and business owners gave their thoughts on what they’d like to see downtown become by the year 2030.

The vision statement for 2030 that came out of the meeting was: “In 2030, historic Weatherford is a vibrant destination for locals and visitors of all ages, offering shopping, dining, living, entertainment and professional opportunities.”

Over the last several months, city staff put together a four-point plan with 20 sub plans. Focus groups and business owners gave their opinions and insights of the town hall meeting results before bringing it to the public. A downtown subcommittee of the Historic Preservation Committee was formed, trying to ensure that anything done meshes with downtown’s historic aesthetics.

During Monday’s two-hour meeting, the main four plans and sub plans were broken down, with residents using clickers to vote on and help determine the importance of each of the sub points. 

More inviting downtown

Point one of the plan had three sub-points: improved technology, enhanced aesthetics (lighting, benches, landscaping) and expanded programming to include smaller, monthly events. Many of the items suggested are things that can, and meeting goers would like to see, be done short term.

Residents suggested placing a sub-office of the chamber that would focus on tourism on the downtown square and potentially add additional events.

 

New jobs, businesses and attractions

Point two of the plan has five sub-points, including the development of a Downtown Business Association, adopting criteria for a neighborhood empowerment zone to create incentives and potential tax breaks for creating a business or updating a present one in the downtown area.

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