Huntsville city planners invite public to downtown master planning meetings April 4-6

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The City of Huntsville's master planning consultants, Urban Design Associates and representatives from Downtown Huntsville Inc. extend another invitation for you to weigh in on the future of downtown. There are several workshops happening this week at UG White Mercantile.

"A lot of what we do is directed by citizen interest and citizen input," said Dennis Madsen, Huntsville's Manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning.

There are two open houses at UG White on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 4-5 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Then, there is a public presentation happening at the VBC South Hall on Thursday, April 6 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

"What's here that people really like and want to make sure is sort of preserved and remains as a sort of primary character and experience," Urban Design Associates Chairman Rob Robinson said about the types of discussions he hopes will happen at the gatherings. "Then, what things are missing. What can we do to begin to build this sort of inventory of interesting stuff happening in your downtown."

Developers said the master planning meetings aren't focused on ideas for all of downtown Huntsville, rather specific areas.

"Mostly focusing on the Holmes Avenue coordinator on the northern edge of downtown, the Clinton Avenue gateway and the area around the VBC coming all the way up to UG White and the Fountain Circle area," Madsen said.

City planners say the plans you'll see at the workshop are still fluid.

"We're kind of thinking of this as a series of short term planning efforts," Madsen said. "Typically downtowns will update their plans every five to 10 years, but what we're really focusing on are the things that we can get done in the next two years, three years, five years. We really want to see some quick-hitter projects here."

Design consultants say hearing from you is the crucial part of their visit.

"We don't live here," Robinson said. "For us to do our work, we have to have a big conversation that continues."