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August 29, 2013

Council reviews downtown development plan

Still in draft phase, plan looks to guide changes to downtown through 2030


Keeping its character

One of the ways to keep the character which so many people come to town for would be for the city to adopt 2009 building codes, the mindset being older building codes tend to impede redevelopment of older buildings. Creating a parking garage with public restrooms would help eliminate two major problems in the eyes of residents.

Creating entry enhancements to help better define the downtown area and its image along with the creation of mixed use (commercial/residential areas) downtown is expected to bring more people into the area. Better defining the downtown and its sphere of influence would be the job of a proposed downtown coordination team which would keep track of improvements and their timing.

All the ideas presented, including potentially provide incentives for historic preservation and restoration while allowing for alternative designs, are all things many people wanted to see.

Easier public access

Redesigning peripheral streets to become one-way along with wider sidewalks, providing more Americans with Disabilities Act improvements and cutting through traffic on median streets to allow easier pedestrian access through downtown along with the creation of exclusive and shared bike lanes are considered priorities by many community members.

As part of the city’s new Transportation Plan, creating an inner loop around the downtown area, using Alamo, Spring and Bridge streets would take truck traffic away from the square and make for easier flow for shoppers.

Making a number of downtown streets one way, including York, Dallas, Trinity, and Austin and providing more angled parking along Main Street would increase parking by as much as 30 percent.

Council was scheduled to look at the potential ideas, provide any necessary feedback before the plan goes to the Historic Preservation Commission Sept. 4. Director of Planning Craig Farmer said another large public meeting to vote on the final plan could be scheduled as early as October depending on what the committee wants to do.

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