The invitation for citizens to join the planning process explains its purpose as accounting for a wide range of existing and future uses to create a vibrant destination for residents and visitors.
Objectives include unifying current projects and stakeholder visions to define a strong sense of place while remaining responsive to the history and current needs of the area.
Ideas of realizing the long-discussed ways to connect downtown to growing entertainment, employment, and commercial centers within the city will expand the vision beyond the existing geographic boundaries.
[caption id="" align="img-wrapleft" width="398"] UTA students Richard Floyd and Allison Christian enjoy beers on the patio at Legal Draft Beer Company in revitalized downtown Arlington.[/caption]
The difference this time is there’s so much more to work with now that lends a true sense of reality to ideas that previously would have been dismissed as unrealistic.
In addition to reviewing the 2004 plan, citizens are asked to complete an on-line survey that will help guide the work ahead. It asks about how often you visit downtown, the reasons for going there, how far away you live, and how satisfied you are with downtown now as a destination and central gathering place.
Then you are asked to rate elements such as street and commercial property maintenance, law enforcement, city services, housing, shopping, dining and entertainment.
Next, you can select the kinds of dining and entertainment options you think are needed ranging from a variety of eateries, large scale bars, live music, and other venues.
What you think about shopping downtown is also explored. Do you like chain or independent retail stores, barber shops and salons, grocery stores, a farmers market, pharmacy and others?
Questions include lodging choices, types of open spaces, street scape features, and open ended queries where you can offer ideas of your own.
Getting in the action by participating in any of the three public meetings that will be held downtown may be the best engagement of all.
The master plan advisory committee made up of downtown business owners and stakeholders will meet on three other occasions during the summer and all are welcome to attend.
Instead of looking back in years to come and wonder how it happened, here’s a chance for residents to play an important role in making it happen.
All of the above described opportunities to get involved are fully discussed with details of when, where, and how on the city’s website devoted to the project. Just enter “Arlington downtown master plan” in your browser’s search box and it will take you there.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.