Canyon City Hosts Open House to Get Public Input on Downtown Master Plan
The Canyon City Master Plan team held an open house Thursday at a local library to get citizen input on the future of the downtown community.
The city chose Freese and Nichols over seven other firms as the engineering, planning and consulting firm to shape the future of its downtown. Selected for its expertise in planning over 40 city centers, the firm reached out to the community through surveys, committees and meetings to find out what residents thought was needed to improve the experience of the center. -ville for the city. The online survey generated 248 responses to help guide many of the ideas on offer, officials said.
City planner Chance Sparks represented Freese and Nichols on this project, who worked on projects in downtown Buda, Victoria and Midlothian. Sparks spoke enthusiastically about downtown development.
“It’s one of my favorite types of projects. It’s like downtown is the personality of a place, ”said Sparks. “We want to work on issues specific to the Canyon Town Square. “
Sparks explained how the cultural aspects of a community are essential to the planning process.
“Public engagement was essential to the process. We treat the public like an expert in the process because they are the people who live downtown every day, ”he said.
According to Sparks, many residents had talked about adding more nightlife to the city center and others wanted more family-friendly activities. With this process, he stressed that the city should balance the needs and wants of the community in all facets of the plan.
Throughout the Canyon Area Library, there was signage with the various plans and ideas for residents to review and give their opinion on what they thought the city needed. The main issues that need to be addressed regardless of future plans are street drainage, better footpaths and a solution to the downtown traffic pattern, officials said.
Deputy City Manager Jon Behrens explained how the master plan’s prioritization process was developed.
“We chose this company to come and work with committees in our city that had residents, store owners and other entities to find out what needs we have in this community for the downtown area,” Behrens said. “Clearly we need ADA accessibility and wider sidewalks making the neighborhood more pedestrian friendly.”
According to Behrens, there are some issues that will need to be addressed first, such as repairing drainage that is hampered by brick streets, which should come before sidewalks repair. He also spoke about the strength of having more signage to give residents a better idea of what downtown has to offer.
Behrens said he expects about six more months of initial planning before it goes to the city commission for review.
“You never know where you’re going to end up unless you have a plan or a map,” Behrens said. “We don’t want to waste money. We want to be sure that we are doing what our citizens want and what we can afford. What we are trying to do is build a place that works for us today. hui and for the people who will be living here thirty years from now.
He added that the square is doing very well right now, but there is a great opportunity to develop the downtown experience and that should be a priority.
City Manager Joe Price appreciated the community’s contribution and said he was pleasantly surprised at the amount of feedback that was given to the city.
“The feedback has been invaluable to the city staff and the consulting firm. We need feedback, ”Price said. “Everyone knows the big challenge is the traffic, the way it moves around the square and how to do it without reducing parking. “
He explained how the city planned to use the tax increment reinvestment zones to help fund the project, much like the city of Amarillo used them.
The rain hampered participation in the event, but those gathered were actively engaged with city officials.
Local Airbnb owners Natalie and Kyle Lawles said they were excited about the possibility of improving the downtown experience and what it could mean for their business.
“We need a rooftop bar and restaurant,” said Kyle Lawles.
One of the issues the couple see as impacting such additions is how the city doesn’t allow stand-alone bars. Establishment bars must serve a certain percentage of food sales over alcohol.
“We are just happy to see Canyon taking the necessary steps to plan for its future,” said Natalie Lawles.