Low turnout for downtown plan meeting

Public will get to provide more input in January

Turnout was disappointing for the city’s first public input meeting last week on a downtown redevelopment plan, but those that did show offered some good feedback, according to city officials.

Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said 12 to 15 people showed up for the open house held on Thursday.

“It was a little disappointing,” he said.

On the plus side, however, “it allowed us to work in smaller groups,” Sheppard said. “There was some dialogue.”

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

Participants at Thursday’s meeting worked with downtown maps and went through exercises that looked at such things as transportation, pedestrian traffic, downtown assets, and things that need to be improved.

“We got some good feedback,” Sheppard said.

The public will get another opportunity to provide input at a second open house meeting on Jan. 11.

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.