MOORHEAD — Residents, workers, visitors, business owners and students in Moorhead will have a chance in the coming months to provide input about what they would like to see the downtown become in the future.
With some major projects already completed or in the planning stages, Downtown Moorhead Inc. CEO Derrick LaPoint told the Moorhead City Council recently that the city is gaining attention regionally and statewide as a place to be.
The Moorhead Downtown Master Plan, which is underway with completion of a public engagement plan, will be another step in that process involving the city government and the downtown organization in “making the core of the city more livable and walkable with a thriving urban center.”
LaPoint said a few “pop-up events” are planned yet this summer, perhaps in front of the downtown Dairy Queen or at the Bridge Bash for college students in September, to start the process of gathering public input by having a kiosk where people can answer potential questions such as “What is your six-word story for the future of downtown?” or “What I want more of downtown is . . .”
The big push to gather public input, he said, will start the week of Sept. 9 when community workshops and listening sessions begin.
Stantec, the consulting company hired to help with the planning and development of the master plan, said the public meetings should be “fun, interactive and accessible.”
LaPoint and City Community Development Director Kristie Leshovsky will assist in scheduling and coordinating the workshops and listening sessions, with the help of Stantec’s project consultant Peggy Harter.
In addition to community meetings, LaPoint said groups throughout the city will be engaged for input including educators, bankers and art, biking and walking enthusiasts.
Mayor Johnathan Judd said he would also like to see senior citizen groups engaged.
A website for the project where people can provide input is available at www.dtmoorheadplan.org.
After the first push to gain public input, the project will include three more phases. Phase 2 starts in January 2020 and will involve more public meetings as Stantec works on identifying the design and structure for what people said they wanted to see downtown become. It will be a draft vision for the downtown.
In March, Stantec will focus on Phase 3, which involves implementation and seeking answers to such questions as how a specific recommendation can be financed or what organization or people should be responsible for a recommendation.
The final phase will be Stantec working with city decision-makers to create the final downtown master plan as a guide to its redevelopment.
The Downtown Moorhead Inc. board led by President Dave Anderson will serve as the project’s steering committee, with a technical advisory committee of mostly city staff providing advice on policies, procedures and regulations to make sure planned projects are realistic and can gain approval.
LaPoint said he would also keep the City Council informed of work throughout the process.
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