2002 Plan Implementation
The program described in the previous section seeks to realize a bold vision. Figure 31, Key Improvement and Redevelopment Sites, summarizes many of the proposals, which contribute to the vision described in the prior chapters. The key to achieving that vision is to positively focus the city’s, the property owners’, and the citizens’ attitudes and commitment toward the downtown.
- Commercial Redevelopment - Locate buildings on frontage property lines and integrate landscaped pedestrian connections.
- Medical Expansion - Integrate buildings into Leale Park setting. Provide pedestrian connections to proposed walking/biking corridor.
- Leale Park Expansion - Expand park south to new pedestran walking/biking coridor. Develop new parking lot to serve park and abotting businesses.
- Mixed Commercial.Residential Redevelopment - Provide attractive frontage and connection to Leal Park
- Long-Term Commerical Redevelopment - Incorporate corner streetscape enhancements.
- Commerical Redevelopment - Integrate pedestrian access via Boneyard Creek and connect to "near North" development.
- Gateway Feature - Construct a focal point entrance feature for Downtown Urbana. Provide pedestrian connection to "Near North" development.
- Long-term Housing Redevelopment - Develop three-story residential with parking in center. Provide pedestrian connection between development at University and Cunningham and the proposed walking/biking corridor.
- Housing Redevlopment - Develop infill multi-family housing.
- Mixed Commercial/Residential Redevelopment - Develop two stories of residential above ground level shops along Broadway frontage. Develop three-story residential fronting Vine Street. Provide parking in the center of block with access through commerical development. Connect function to proposed public square.
- Parking Expansion - Provide connection along Boneyard Creek south to Main Street.
- Mixed Commerical/Residential Redevelopment - Develop two stories of residential above ground level shops. Provide 2 levels of parking in center of development covered by rooftop garden for residents.
- Public Square - Construct nw public gathering space to connect commercial developmetn and Civic Center
- Parking Expansion - Potential for additional structured parking on municipal property.
- Public Square - Develop public gathering space in landscaped setting. Reuse brick structure for entertianment-type business such as a restaurant. Demolish small gas station stucture.
- Streetscape Enhancement - Enhance perimeter of County Plaza along Main and Broadway to include lighting, trees and planters. Explore possibility of developing public gathering space on southwest corner of site.
- Commerical Development - Locate buildings on corner frontage property lines and integrate landscaped pedestrian connections. Potential relocation site for Elite Diner.
- Commercial Development - Locate buildings on corner frontage property lines and locate parking to the east. potential relocation site for Elite Diner.
- Long-Term Commerical/Parking Expansion - Convert ground level to commercial use. Add additional level of parking to structure.
- Public Square - Redevelop Post Office parking into public gathering space for festivals, performances and a portion of the outdoor farmers market. Extend parapet wall of Lincoln Square to match height of Post Office and incorporate showcase display windows. Construct new mall ebtrance feature on axis with Broadway Avenue.
- Post Office Reuse - Locate proposed year-round public market in Post Office Structure. Incorportate smaller office of Post Office into reuse.
- Parking Lot Enhancement - Reconfigure parking lot to provide short-term parallel parking for access to City Hall on Vine Street. Incorporate predestrian access into improvement to link City Hall and Lincoln Square Mall.
The city must take a strong, proactive stance toward downtown development and the implementation of this plan. Yet, it must not see itself as having the sole responsibility for downtown implementation, but rather as a leader who can energize the private sector to become the steward for, and developer of, downtown. In doing so, it cannot just trust in the private sector and step aside. Rather, this plan requires a greater commitment by the city to support, act, cajole, demonstrate, and to fund coordinated downtown improvement. The key here is to have the city, like all the downtown stakeholders, maintain a continuous and consistent commitment to the implementation of agreed-upon plan directions.
To that end, it is critical for the city, upon adoption of the plan, to assist in the formation of a Private / Non-Profit Development Corporation and to sit down with representatives of the group to clearly discuss roles and responsibilities, establish liaison, and to identify how best to assist in its stewardship role. It is also critical for the city to activate a Downtown Commission which can serve as the conduit for the Development Corporation to coordinate and implement the many responsibilities that will continue to fall to the city.
Many of the components of this plan require regulatory action. Probably the most significant is modification of the zoning ordinance to carry out the planning and design structure outlined by the plan. However, there are also other regulatory issues to be addressed, such as how the city will structure its parking program in response to the dictates of the plan, whether or not there should be new special service districts established to facilitate the plan recommendations in the Entertainment District and along Broadway. Lastly, there may be changes in ordinances regulating hours of operation, signage and the like to facilitate the plan. All of these issues should be addressed directly through the aegis of the Downtown Commission.
Money is always at the heart of any successful plan. To date, the major sources of revenue outside of the general fund have been the downtown Tax Increment Finance Districts (TIFs). This method of financing should be reviewed to determine whether changes are needed to boundaries, objectives, projects and budget. Further, as the TIFs near expiration, a major question is whether or not new or amended TIF districts should be created.
One approach that cuts across policy, regulation and financing is the question of whether or not to create a Business Improvement District downtown (BID). A BID is a very powerful tool to coordinate, manage and redevelop downtown as it allows a host of strong municipal powers for bonding, condemnation, and the like. Careful consideration as to the utility of the BID should be undertaken. At a minimum, commitments to the formation of a BID should be reserved until the plan is in the process of implementation and momentum has developed. In this manner the BID can be seen as a response to the momentum of implementation rather than as one more tool to start up the plan.
The following Table outlines the implementation program for this plan. It lists 30 projects, each containing one or more actions designed to respond to the vision and initiatives of this plan. This Table should become the work program for downtown development. As such, it can provide the basis for developing yearly agendas for downtown development and coordinating the actions of the Development Corporation with the city and other stakeholders.
In the following table, responsibility for the execution of the action steps is assigned to a private entity (such as the Private / Non-Profit Development Corporation or the Marketing and Promotion Corporation), to a public entity such as the City, or to both. These assignments are not intended to be set in stone and in many cases, the private and public sectors will work together in carrying out a specific action step. As the plan is implemented and as a Development Corporation is in the process of being formed, it may become necessary to reevaluate responsibilities for specific action steps. In the end, the goal is to have the steps completed regardless of which entity is in the best position to accomplish the goal.
The Action Plan also identifies priorities for the action steps. In general, high priority represents action in the next 1 to 2 years. Medium priority is intended for action in 3 to 5 years and Low priority represents action after 5 years.