Weatherford Democrat

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June 12, 2013

Downtown plan moving forward

Peach Festival visitors will get input chance

By BRIAN SMITH

City officials are planning a public meeting later this summer to reveal the ideas and action implementation on the downtown plan.

Director of Planning and Development Craig Farmer said the city and Main Street officials are trying to get one more group involved on ideas on how to invigorate downtown: visitors to the area. Farmer said an idea to have a booth or tent at the Parker County Peach Festival to gauge visitor perception of the downtown square and how to improve it will be done, although an exact location has not been determined yet. Farmer said it will be announced before the event, however.

Staff members used a recent report from a February meeting on the downtown and took ideas from that to a 12- person focus group. The original meeting, attended by more than 100 people, allowed electronic, anonymous feedback on a number of ideas, which then gave the city the chance to narrow down what people liked and didn’t like.

A report with the results from the meeting was produced and other members of the public, including visitors, are being given the opportunity to have their say before a final decision is reached and action plan developed.

The focus group, which included members of a recently formed downtown committee, business owners and the public, provided feedback from the ideas and gave some ideas of their own.

“We’ve heard from a lot of different groups on what they’d like to see and now we want to get ideas from visitors on what they would like and what would bring them back to town,” Farmer said. “We want to know what would make them bring their kids here. Are we thinking parks areas, more seating downtown, nightlife, restaurants, etc.?”

Farmer said a consensus is needed and direction given before the public meeting is held. Farmer said he would like to hold the meeting after the Peach Festival or in early August to get moving on the project. The ideas received from the visitors will be brought into the action plan.

The developed plan will more than likely include a number of city departments, the county, special interest groups and the state as well, Farmer said.

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