DREAM ideas unveiled at meeting

Thursday, May 3, 2012
Downtown improvements recommended PGAV Planners provided several drawings of downtown Cassville building and streetscape improvements during a meeting held at the Cassville City Hall on April 27. The presentation offered information on using sidewalk expansions, landscaping and public furnishings to make the area around the Barry County Courthouse more inviting to shoppers and visitors.

On Friday, PGAV Planners presented downtown Cassville building and streetscape design concepts to 30 community members. PGAV Planners has been hired by the DREAM Initiative to work with downtown revitalization groups, such as the Downtown Cassville Partnership.

"The intent of DREAM is to provide you with a good, sound planning recommendation so that when you reach the point where you talk about funding you will have a plan," said Mike Hemmer, of PGAV Planners. "DREAM is a planning resource that facilitates intense planning over a three- to four-year period.

"We want to provide you with a good road map for what is needed in downtown over the next five to 10 years," said Hemmer. "We will recommend what is needed. This might not be what is popular or well liked. You are still in control. We are just providing our best recommendation."

Hemmer began his presentation by giving an overview of the DREAM planning goals. In addition to the building and streetscape design, PGAV Planners is currently working on a web survey. A land use, building and infrastructure survey, a focus group survey report and a stormwater analysis have either been completed or are nearing completion.

Other goals include: an organizational structure review; a residential demand analysis; a retail market analysis; a financial assistance review; marketing; and a downtown strategic plan.

The building and streetscape concepts focus on three areas of downtown Cassville, the northern gateway, the square and the southern gateway. Information for the concepts was gathered through meetings with city and county officials, city code staff and downtown property owners.

PGAV Planners recommended enforcement of building and streetscape guidelines through ordinances, codes and procedures, including inspections and incentives. Guidelines could be used on a voluntary, mandatory or conditional basis using an incentive district.

Hemmer pointed out the following issues, which are common in many Missouri communities: metal siding, improper awnings and damaging alterations; overhead electric lines, poor drainage and curbing and utility deficiencies; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) noncompliance; upper levels underutilized and inappropriate ground floor uses; not attractive to pedestrians or bicyclists; and lack of greenery or generally aesthetically desolate.

Some of these issues can be addressed through a public investment, including planting trees and shrubbery, installing vintage lighting and park benches, and making sidewalk and infrastructure improvements. The public investments are designed to inspire property owners to make private investments.

The presentation included a recommendation for a gateway park near 10th and Main streets. The park would include a central plaza, a playground, picnic areas and sidewalks leading to the downtown retail area. Currently, property owned in the identified area is privately owned.

Sidewalk improvements were recommended for the downtown square. The improvements would make the area ADA compliant and offer a plaza feel by expanding the width of the pedestrian walkways.

PGAV Planners recommended a roundabout for the southern gateway to the downtown area. The roundabout would replace the current stoplight at the intersection of Main Street and Highways 112/76/86.

Community members attending the event were invited to make comments regarding the recommendations. Other Cassville residents are invited to visit www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22FF8PRSS3D to voice concerns or give feedback regarding the recommendations.

Artist drawings and information about the PGAV building and streetscape design concepts will be available at the Cassville City Hall. Downtown Cassville Partnership members also hope to have the information available at several community events this summer.

The DREAM Initiative is a partnership of the Missouri Development Finance Board, Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

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