South Gateway Corridor Plan in the works
BY JESSICA O’BRIEN – Michigan City News Dispatch – Nov 19, 2014
With plans to revitalize the north end well underway, the city is now shifting its gaze to the other side of town. A community workshop was held Wednesday at City Hall to jump start
With plans to revitalize the north end well underway, the city is now shifting its gaze to the other side of town.
A community workshop was held Wednesday at City Hall to jump start the South Gateway Corridor Plan, focusing on the area of Highway 421/Franklin Street stretching from Coolspring Avenue to the Interstate 94 interchange between Ohio Street and Woodland Avenue.
During a 10-month study, a team composed of local and national experts will collect data and compose a comprehensive plan of action for the city. This plan aims to increase economic redevelopment in this area while also improving aesthetics and vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Partnering for this project are the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission, Kendig Keast Collaborative, American Structurepoint and Haas and Associates.
Wednesday’s workshop – which was attended by Michigan City Common Council and Redevelopment Commission members, business owners and concerned citizens – was an interactive attempt to hear the public’s opinion on the upcoming revitalization.
Craig Phillips, city planner, said, “The intention is to gather community input regarding the project and how it factors into the rest of the community. We’ve put a lot of work into the north end and we are establishing an east TIF (tax increment financing) district and (the south gateway) is another area the Redevelopment Commission has identified as an area of concern in the city.
He also explained, when questioned by a local business owner, that the midtown area of the city – between 11th Street and Coolspring Avenue – also will be addressed beginning after the first of the year, but as a separate project from the north and south gateway plans. During the workshop, representatives from Kendig Keast Collaborative led a variety of exercises, which asked attendees for their input on topics such as traffic, underdeveloped areas, blighted properties, signage and aesthetics.
According to Aaron Tuley, project manager, the key goals of this plan are to improve traffic flow, create a pedestrian and bicycle friendly environment, give the corridor a unique identity, enhance the landscaping and streetscaping amenities, improve overall safety and diversify the area with retail, office and residential uses. Some of the concerns identified during the workshop were bus shelters and turnouts, frontage roads, re-purposing Marquette Mall, properties on Highway 20 to the east of Highway 421 and the lack of crosswalks.
Over the length of this project, the involved partners will study the market, “develop a vision for the corridor” and create what they believe will be an implementable plan for the city to put into action.