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Saturday, March 28, 2015

More than 50 people attended a meeting held by the city on March 2 to present the results of public input received for the new 6.63-acre public park along the northern downtown riverfront.

From May-December 2014, the city asked citizens for input about what they would like to see at the park. Input was collected at meetings, presentations, events, community centers, an online survey and social media. The city will now begin developing a master plan for the park that will be used to help seek park funding.

Additional open space is a top priority in the city’s park master plan and was the number one recommendation in the city’s Vision 2020 plan that outlines a plan for downtown development. “The lack of downtown parks and open space has a critical impact on the urban environment. Without inviting recreation opportunities or public gathering places, the reasons for visiting or staying downtown are reduced for both local residents and tourists,” the plan states.

In addition, the current proposal to redevelop the site of the Water Street deck is consistent with the Vision 20/20 plan. The plan characterizes the site as a “critical opportunity for redevelopment as a vibrant mixed-use project to activate the waterfront” and repeatedly expresses a need for more permanent downtown residents, especially “young families, professionals, and empty nesters.”  

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