Date for downtown master plan hearing changes

Meeting moved to Jan. 24 to avoid banquet conflict

City officials scrambled Tuesday to get the word out about a sudden date change to a highly anticipated public meeting next week intended to help shape the future of downtown Shawano.

Fliers and other advertising had already been circulating about the meeting and its originally intended date of Thursday, Jan. 25, which also happens to be the night of the Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce awards banquet.

Due to the conflict, the downtown master plan public meeting has been moved up a day to Wednesday, Jan. 24. It will take place from 6-8 p.m. in the Lake Room at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St.

It will be the second public meeting held on the downtown plan after a disappointing turnout for the first one.

Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said only about a dozen people showed up for that public hearing on Nov. 16, though, he said, the meeting did yield some good dialogue.

The meetings are being hosted by the Downtown Redevelopment Citizens Steering Committee, which has been tasked with creating a new vision, marketing plan and implementation strategy for Shawano’s downtown.

Participants at next week’s meeting will have a chance to work with downtown maps and go through exercises that look at such things as transportation, pedestrian traffic, downtown assets, and things that need to be improved.

Topics to be discussed include trends influencing the downtown experience, potential catalyst redevelopment projects and public amenity needs.

The project is being overseen by Madison-based planning consultant Vierbacher, which was hired by the Shawano Redevelopment Authority.

The concept approved by the RDA would include “a new vision and identity for the downtown” that would highlight the area as a pedestrian-friendly destination spot, recommend highest and best uses for downtown properties, seek to preserve historic and community-significant buildings, set standards for site and building design, and develop an implementation plan to help the city achieve its goals.

The committee expects to ultimately recommend a plan with a unifying downtown theme and realistic implementation strategies, based mostly on community input.