By BRIAN SMITH
More than 100 people came out to give their opinion on what Weatherford’s downtown should look like during a meeting Tuesday night at the Cotten-Bratton Building.
The nearly three-hour vision meeting and planning session had three objectives: identifying important issues and opportunities, describing vision for downtown and taking steps to create the future. Planner Karen Walls, who has worked with Richardson, Denton and Fredericksburg downtown areas, said the only way to make an area better is to have people with several different backgrounds weigh in.
“One department or community member can’t do this,” Walls said. “We need shop owners, city and county officials and the general public to take part.”
City staff, along with members of the Historic Preservation Committee and the newly formed Downtown Weatherford subcommittee had met three weeks ago in a brainstorming session to come up with ideas for the community to weigh in on.
Director of Planning and Development Craig Farmer said the city has a great downtown, brought about by the revitalization of the city’s Main Street Program four years ago. Main Street and Special Events Manager Kim Thieme said bringing the downtown back from “ground zero” involved working with the Chamber of Commerce and hosting quarterly festivals to bring people into the downtown square.
A list of ideas to better downtown was provided to those that took part, who were encouraged to submit their own ideas as part of a team concept. Some of those included:
• Allowing upstairs living in downtown businesses.
• Having a clear definition of what a downtown should be.
• Having live entertainment and keeping businesses open after hours and on weekends.
• Creating a tourism position and offering a website strictly for city events.
• Offering tax incentives for downtown businesses and having the city become more business friendly.