To make a list: normal advice sets priorities for the near future

By the end of the month, normal city council members will have registered with staff their individual priorities for the next few years.

Deputy city manager Eric Hanson said the exercise would merge individual tallies before a final council vote on the slate which includes short-term and long-term goals, such as finding a site for a new police.

“I believe, and I think from a staff perspective, that if and when we moved the police station, it would still be central in nature so that we could cater to all sections of the community,” Hanson said.

A new police station could see the light of day as its current site in Uptown South is redeveloped.

Among the possible long-term goals for the city is establishing the community’s economic development identity, which Hanson called a complicated effort that uses existing community assets like Rivian to attract new manufacturing and other businesses.

“And if we don’t capitalize on that, then it’s up to us, isn’t it? So let’s take just one piece of that, an industrial park. It doesn’t happen overnight. big site of hundreds of acres, putting infrastructure there and putting in place the various programs that we would need to support it, that just doesn’t happen quickly,” Hanson said.

A third fire station is also on the list of potential priorities, along with more routine items such as a review of zoning codes, execution of a water, sewer and other replacement strategy. infrastructure, and a holistic review of municipal costs. There is also an element that would explore increased spending on public art.

Concerns over parking issues in the Uptown South development plan are part of the perennial debate over the difference between available parking and convenient parking. Some fear that a large format building or dense housing does not have enough parking. But Hanson said that remains to be determined.

“We obviously have a number of parking options already available in Uptown. The underpass, I would say, makes that parking much more accessible and available for things that are happening, and will be happening, on the south side of the tracks,” he said.

Just because the Uptown South plan is heading to city council early next year doesn’t mean everything is set in stone. Hanson said, for example, parking facilities depend on the type of tall building that ends up rising south of the train tracks.

“Depending on how it all goes and looks, and if it’s more housing than public facilities, or if a third option is a type of private development scenario that is more promotional in nature or for use mixed, is ultimately going to determine parking priority,” Hanson said.

One hope for the plan is that housing in Uptown South will attract residents who can increase the level of activity in Uptown proper, he said, adding that the housing component of the redevelopment plan could help create an environment walkable for urban living in the area.

This, in turn, could attract a critical mass of people who would favor a 6 p.m. pedestrian environment for city living instead of an active neighborhood primarily during office hours.

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