Committee works

Published 11:19 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

By Staff
on downtown plan
Seeking inputfrom residents,property owners
Contributing Editor
A committee reviewing previous studies of Washington’s downtown/waterfront area to help develop a new outlook for the city’s future is seeking input from city residents, property owners and merchants.
Citizens for Revitalization, given its charge to formulate that new outlook by the City Council, will hold a series of meetings to inform people about its progress and seek their involvement in developing the new vision. Those meetings, to be held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building at 102 E. Second St., will be held at the following dates and times: Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m.; Dec. 2, 1 p.m.; and Dec. 3, 9:30 a.m.
Washington’s City Council approved the formation of the committee earlier this year.
During the next 30 days, according to Furlough, the committee will “identify the strengths of those two plans and see what’s been accomplished.” The committee is working to have the plan completed by next spring, he said.
Among the previous studies of the downtown/waterfront area the committee will study are the W.K. Dickson Plan and the Renaissance Plan. The Renaissance Plan was adopted by the city in the mid-1990s, while the Dickson strategy was accepted by the city in 2005. Some elements of the Dickson and Renaissance plans have been implemented.
At the Nov. 10 meeting of the City Council, City Manager James C. Smith said the committee is looking at taking several elements from each of the studies that complement one another and combining them for inclusion in the new strategy for how best to use the downtown/waterfront area.
Furlough made a similar statement at the council’s Oct. 20 meeting. The committee is taking the best parts of the two plans to help develop a comprehensive approach to developing the downtown area to improve the city’s quality of life and bring about economic prosperity, he said then. Once that is done, the committee will bring its proposal to the council for its approval and implementation.
Furlough said community involvement in developing the plan is important to its successful implementation.
Furlough quoted a segment of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s economic-renewal guide to help make his point: “The primary barrier to successful economic development is not the economy. It’s not the price of wheat or fuel, nor is it the number of tourists that come through. Rather, it’s the capacity of community residents to work together.”