December Workshop & Project Update

 In News, Project updates, Uncategorized

We held a series of workshops in October and November for the purpose of learning and developing strategies to implement goals for the Downtown. These goals included:

  1. Create a vibrant and authentic downtown that reflects our strong sense of place.
  2. Make our downtown streets safe and easy to use.
  3. Support a healthy downtown business environment that strengthens our local economy.
  4. Enhance our downtown by strengthening the connections between Western and the community.

The first workshop consisted of a series of meetings with stakeholder groups (Western and downtown area business owners) and the community. This “Discovery Workshop” was held on October 18 and 19, 2017.  Discovery Workshop meetings served as an opportunity to explore the topics of safe streets, downtown vibrancy and authenticity, strengthening connections between Western and the community, and creating a healthy business environment.

Workshop participants learned about what other communities are doing to foster vibrant downtowns, create safer streets, and support downtown businesses and provided input on how the city might use those practices in Gunnison. A summary of the Discovery Workshop can be found here.

The input gathered at the Discovery Workshop helped to provide direction for the second workshop, called the “Downtown Design Workshop”.

The Downtown Design Workshop, held November 1 through 3, offered opportunities for the community and stakeholders to work alongside planning and design experts to develop specific design solutions for downtown challenges. A summary of the Design Workshop can be found here.

Specific strategies that came out of the Design Workshop that are under consideration include the following:

Safety:

  • Install Bulb-Outs (also known as curb extensions) at the intersection of Main Street/Tomichi Avenue, Main Street/Virginia Avenue, Main Street/Georgia Avenue and Main Street/Ohio Avenue
  • Strengthen physical connections between Western and the Downtown via pedestrian and bicycle improvements along Ohio Avenue and/or Georgia Avenue
  • Collaborate with CDOT on improving signal timing at Main Street and Tomichi Avenue to improve pedestrian crossing at this intersection
  • Improve the network of bike lanes to make it safer, easier and more comfortable to bike in the downtown

Vitality:

  • Bring more activity to Main Street by enhancing IOOF Park with new amenities
  • Transform Virginia Avenue and/or South Main Street into Festival Streets
  • Create more opportunity for outdoor seating by modifying the “clear zone” requirements along Main Street sidewalks
  • Enable businesses to install seasonal Parklets on downtown streets – patio or pedestrian areas
  • Improve the timing, impact and coordination of downtown events
  • Create more opportunities for public art displays

Policy Actions:

  • Develop a long-term parking strategy for the downtown
  • Modify downtown zoning and development parameters in the CBD, B1, R2 and R3 zone districts to:
    • Allow for more housing choices
    • Enable private investment
    • Allow for historic building forms

Implementation:

  • Develop organizational capacity to help carry forward implementation of the Gunnison Vibrancy Initiative
  • Work with the community and stakeholders to identify appropriate funding sources for downtown improvements

An action plan is currently being prepared and should be available in January. Please stay tuned for more information on the action plan.  Please contact Andie Ruggera at aruggera@gunnisonco.gov for more information.

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