A city’s downtown can say a lot about a community.
For some cities, it’s the first thing one thinks of at the mention of a particular city’s name. Research and planning for a downtown is a continuous process.
A blueprint for St. Joseph’s downtown is something city officials have been working on for some time. It continues to take shape with the addition of new businesses and beautification efforts, such as the lovely new hanging baskets adorning Minnesota Street.
With design proposals and market studies to see what works best for the city’s population and what type of businesses thrive and grow here, it can be argued planning for the future of a downtown requires years of planning and multiple phases of collaboration to help make a city a memorable destination.
In early June, members of the St. Joseph City Council, Planning Commission, Economic Development Authority and Park Board held a joint meeting to continue the formulation of a plan for downtown improvements.
Parking, increased signage at city entrances and a better connection to neighborhoods are some of the areas of improvement discussed during the joint city meeting to put design ideas and plans for the city’s downtown into action.
What was the result of the meeting?
Officials tasked the EDA with the work of creating an action plan to help implement a unified vision for the downtown. The operative word here is action.
Strengthening the city’s downtown is going to take the action of not only city officials, but of businesses and the very people who support it: its residents and visitors.
The city has a comprehensive plan, transportation plan, downtown beautification plans and design guidelines. So just what does planning for a downtown involve?
According to the Minnesota Office of Economic Assistance, a typical downtown plan addresses issues that include:
• Land Use: Identify existing commercial, industrial and residential (housing) land uses and whether to expand, move or secure current land uses.
• Development Needs: Identify existing businesses and economic activities, note lots or parcels with redevelopment potential and identify the appropriate land uses to mesh with the city’s economic needs and assets.
• Transportation: Describe and evaluate current traffic engineering issues (peak usage, road design, a need for road rebuilding or improvements) and parking considerations
• Growth and Revitalization Strategies: Identify how to develop or redevelop downtown’s physical elements.
St. Joseph’s plans have these elements. To some it might seem that multiple-page reports are just words on paper. They are not. They are the roadmap for future progress.
Support your downtown by taking an interest in what’s planned before construction begins. All city plans are on the city’s website: www.cityofstjoseph.com.