It’s been almost a couple of months since our last Downtown Master Plan update. We’ll cover two topics today. First, the long-range plan development. Second, we’ll review some short-term improvements the City is considering for downtown.
Here’s the latest on the master plan process.
The City received 16 responses to our Request for Qualifications on the downtown plan. They range from large, national, multi-disciplined firms to smaller companies that specialize in urban redevelopment and planning. We were really excited to have so many quality submissions. Here’s the list (PDF) of responders.
We received responses from firms as far away as Toronto and Los Angeles. Some are Texas-based or have offices in the state. All but one met our minimum qualifications, so we’ve got our work cut out for us in reviewing the 15 contenders.
Our plan is to score the 15 on a range of criteria, such as experience, qualifications of staff, approach to providing services, technical competence, references, etc. We’ll then ask the 3-4 responders with the highest scores to come to Round Rock for interviews. We’ll refine the scores based on the interviews, and begin negotiations with the responder with the highest score.
Our goal is to have a contract ready for City Council approval in May. We expect to complete the planning process in approximately 12 months.
But we’re not going to wait until the plan is complete to make some short-term improvements to the historic downtown area.
As part of the City’s purchase of the office building next to City Hall, we are preparing to make improvements to the parking garage. Specifically, we’re considering improving the lighting inside the garage, painting the interior walls a bright color, and adding some tile to the pedestrian entrance at the northeast stairwell.
In the mid-term, we are considering shading the top floor of the parking garage, to make it more appealing to park there – especially in the summer. We are also considering improvements to the southwest stairwell to make it more appealing – adding lights and maybe windows.
The Parks and Recreation Department recently added a new street lamp on Lampasas to help illuminate the sidewalk near Bella Notte. PARD is also having six “up lights” installed next to the sidewalk under the crepe myrtles along the east side of Lampasas, south of Main Street. (Up lights, as the name implies, are installed on the ground and point up to illuminate the space nearby.) This should help nighttime patrons of restaurants downtown feel safer walking to the parking garage. Those lights should be operational by Friday, March 28. (We’re getting a quote to see what it would cost to do the same thing on the west side of Lampasas.)
The Christmas lights have been reinstalled on the trees in the center islands along Main Street. We will also put up Christmas lights along Lampasas. All these improvements should improve the visibility in the downtown area – with the Christmas lights perhaps adding a festive feel.
What do you think? Are there any other short-term improvements downtown you would like the City to consider?