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.
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.