Downtown Redevelopment

December 2007 - Posts

Walk hard

It occurred to me this week I left a couple of important items out of the first post.

First, I neglected to provide a link to the report (pdf) by Walkable Communities guru Dan Burden that really put downtown in focus for the City. Dan spent a couple of days in Round Rock in July 2007, and conducted a walking audit of downtown. We brought Dan here to help us with the problem pedestrians have downtown, particularly crossing Mays Street. Dan really opened our eyes to the opportunity we have in Round Rock to create a livable, workable, walkable town center. His report is worth reading (be warned: It's a huge file so be patient while it downloads. Dan's a former National Geographic photographer, so his report is full of fantastic shots.)

(While on the topic of walkability, I'll pass along a link forwarded to me by fellow City staffer David Bartels to a 2004 article from the Washington Post on walkable communities and physical health.)

Second, of all the groups, individuals, organizations, businesses, staff, etc., I listed who attended the Nov. 28 meeting, I somehow forgot to mention representatives from the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce. Charlie Ayres, as usual, was particularly helpful in connecting us with downtown business owners.

Downtown -- everything's waiting for you

What a fantastic turnout we had Nov. 28 for our kickoff public meeting on the downtown redevelopment project. More than 135 folks turned out, representing a wide variety of interests -- which is fantastic! We had downtown residents, residents from other neighborhoods, business owners, commercial property owners, First Baptist Church representatives, restaurant owners, bankers, a Williamson County official, real estate professionals, hoteliers, development and engineering firm reps, local historians, local media, a couple of folks from Austin Community College, and even the Boy Scouts! Lots of City officials attended as well, including City Council members, Planning and Zoning Commission members, Historic Preservation Commission members, and staff from the administration, engineering and development services, fire, library, planning, and parks and recreation departments.

Like I said at the meeting, the City Council has made downtown redevelopment a strategic priority for the City. That decision occurred at the Council's annual August planning retreat. This summary report (pdf) from the retreat provides some terrific background information on how the City Council came to focus on downtown. (Note: the report is a low-resolution version to save time downloading; it's still a 2MB file.)

We'll post the final report we receive from our consultants from Glatting Jackson when we get it. We have received summary documents of the input given at the meeting. I've combined them into one file here (pdf). This document contains the simple tallies of the input received on Values, Issues, Best of Downtown and Worst of Downtown.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the Nov. 28 meeting here. You'll need to register to comment, and comply with our Terms of Use. We'll likely continue to use this blog throughout the downtown planning process because it's such a convenient way to keep folks in the loop and get their input.

Shameless plug: For those who haven't seen it, we did a story on downtown planning and the meeting for our December issue of City Focus. We interviewed some of the meeting attendees for the segment. Here's a link to the web cast (Windows Media Player required) for those who don't have cable television.