As a result of feedback received during the Spring 2009 Fountain District Urban Village public meetings, a follow up focus group meeting was held specifically in regards to the "Commercial Core" area on Meridian Street. The “Commercial Core” is generally defined as the area having the highest concentration of employment and housing; direct access to transit; a wide range of land uses including retail, office, residential, recreation and public facilities; and an emphasis on the pedestrian environment.
One of the objectives of the master planning process for the area is to utilize the recently adopted Urban Village Design Standards and tailor them to augment the eclectic character of Meridian Street. The goal is to develop design standards which, when implemented, will reinforce the character through adaptive re-use of existing buildings and to guide the development of desirable new construction.
In the Focus Group meeting citizen input was gathered regarding the allowable building heights along Meridian, desired character of new development and the adaptive use of existing historic buildings, the need for special attention to the alley interface with residential areas adjacent to Meridian, and the desire to incorporate appropriate Infill Toolkit housing forms in existing residential areas adjacent to the urban village (specifically Detached Accessory Dwelling Units and Carriage Houses).
Focus Group participants made oral and written comments which are provided in the links, below. These will be incorporated into the analysis and used in refining the draft master plan.
The purpose of this session was to study and discuss the proposed "Commercial Transition Zone," adaptive reuse, and historic preservation concerns along Elm Street. Input was collected on the range of potential allowable uses, adaptive use of historic buildings, and potential for incorporation of Infill Toolkit housing forms.
In 2007, prior to the City’s initiation of the Fountain District Urban Village Master Planning Process, Lettered Streets Neighbor and ReStore Public Outreach Coordinator Jason Darling launched an extensive public process to engage neighbors, businesses and the general public in revitalization planning for the Fountain Plaza Park.
A Public Input Report (137K PDF) has been completed by staff and contains a summary of public comments received during the April / May meetings. This report outlines the conceptual plan presented by staff, highlights the suggestions, ideas and concerns raised by property and business owners and the general public, and identifies the next steps in the master planning process.
Two years later during the Spring 2009 Fountain District Urban Village planning process, the Fountain Plaza Park was identified as an underutilized asset in the Fountain District area. As a result a follow up “Focus Group Place-making Party in the Street” was planned. (Place-making is a term coined by the Project For Public Spaces, a nonprofit organization that helps cities make the most of their public spaces. For more information go to www.pps.org).
One purpose of the event was to promote local business and to bring them together within the greater community. Another goal was to use the event to experiment with new and different ways to utilize the plaza park as a neighborhood amenity. By temporarily closing Monroe Street between Broadway and Meridian for the afternoon, Speak EZ’s Restaurant was able to utilize the street for outdoor dining and a temporary “stage” was set up for local musicians to perform under the big oak tree. Additionally, there was an area for children’s activities, Community Produce Exchange tables and the ReStore brought in their Recycled Art Station.
The event was well-attended and provided an opportunity to build relationships with neighbors and businesses, and to experience Fountain Plaza Park from an entirely new perspective. The public was invited work as a team to observe, document and study how the Fountain Plaza Park space functioned under new uses. Comments, observations and photographs resulting from the day are provided in the links, below: