Brooks: Downtown redevelopment to include parking garage

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 3/19/19

MainStreet Cleveland’s upcoming downtown redevelopment master

plan rethinks Cleveland’s historic downtown, according to …

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Brooks: Downtown redevelopment to include parking garage

Posted

MainStreet Cleveland’s upcoming downtown redevelopment master plan rethinks Cleveland’s historic downtown, according to Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks.

During a MainStreet Cleveland luncheon Monday, Brooks talked about the plan being formulated by a civil engineering firm hired by the City Council.

"The vision for downtown is to create a livable and memorable downtown with distinct neighborhoods connected by walkable and strong infrastructure," Brooks said.

The downtown master plan is currently being developed by WSP, USA.

"They are helping us with this initiative," Brooks said.

Brooks said a survey was conducted in 2017, asking city residents to list which priorities the city should accomplish over the next three years. 

The respondents said they want improvements in traffic flow within the city, redevelopment of its downtown, more entertainment options and redesigning the city's south side neighborhoods were the top four priorities.

The availability of parking downtown continues to be a concern for city residents, although Brooks said a solution will be soon forthcoming. 

"The [redevelopment] plan will include a multilevel parking garage, and I can't wait to present it to the City Council," Brooks said, adding that more details will be available when WSP presents its master plan soon.

Brooks said the 42 percent of residents surveyed want additional shopping choices downtown, with 41 percent indicating they want more entertainment options available.

"They said 'We need more,'" Brooks said.

He said the respondents indicated they were happy with the quality of events available.

"People want more, but they love what we have," Brooks said.

In addition, Brooks said residents surveyed indicated they  are satisfied with the quality of events available downtown, as well as dining options that are available.

"Forty-five percent said they were satisfied with dining options," Brooks said.

Importantly, the mayor said 39 percent of respondents said they felt safe at night while downtown, with almost 80 percent stating they felt safe during the day.

"That myth that it's not safe to go downtown, hopefully we are fixing that," Brooks said.

He said he was pleased with the response to the Music at the Mill's concert series, which kicked off Saturday night.

"There were hundreds of people enjoying music," Brooks said. "We had a great night. This is just what we need downtown."

Brook said the city council challenged WSP with creating a new downtown master plan.

"A series of charrettes were held and we got feedback, and we are very close to showing the full WSP report," Brooks said.

The presentation developed by WSP will include live-action video that will enable viewers to experience how downtown will look in the future.

"It allows you to envision walking down Inman Street," Brooks said. "You will love it."

Streets downtown will feature cobblestones, which will not only be aesthetically pleasing, but will also regulate traffic flow.

"They're not speed bumps, but for 'traffic calming,' so people will slow down when they visit downtown," Brooks said, adding that corridors downtown such as Inman Street will feature medians and trees.

"We call ourselves the downtown historic Cleveland, and I'm glad WSP picked up on that."

Brooks said the master plan that shows a Greenway connector rising from under Inman Street adjacent to Starbucks will connect downtown to the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway.

"It will be the missing link connecting downtown to Starbucks and the Village Green (Town Center)," Brooks said.

The recent announcement that downtown redeveloper Nicholas Lillios was planning to redevelop the former Permna Color building to include a mix of living and retail spaces was welcomed by the mayor.

Lillios, who announced the plan during a city council work session last week, plans to utilize a payment in lieu of taxes program to enable the project to commence. Lillios told members of the city council that he had delayed the project for several years because he was unable to figure out a way to make the project profitable. However, the PILOT program encouraged him to move forward.

Brooks said he expects other developers will access the program for downtown redevelopment.

"PILOT programs are how things happen," Brooks said. "I'm grateful Mr. Lillios is the first developer. I really believe this is a tool in the toolbox for developers to make the numbers work."







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