It may take some time to grow to fruition, but a recent planning session for Marquette's North Third Street may have planted the seeds for a more attractive "destination" area.
A five-day series of "big-picture" workshops brought planning consultants, business owners, elected officials and community members together for a wide-ranging discussion on the future of North Third between Ridge Street and Fair Avenue.
The process, known as a "charrette," ran from Thursday through Monday, when the sessions wrapped up with the presentation of a master land use plan and a form-based code. The charrette was held in the Marquette Commons, and citizens were free to drop in on the discussion at any time.
The city used a similar process recently when crafting its downtown form-based code. That process was well-attended and well-received, as were the Third Street sessions.
Another positive feature of the charrette was its low cost - paid for with a $75,000 Michigan State Housing Development Authority grant.
The outcome? Consultants are now drafting the form-based code. When completed it will need to be approved by city staff, boards and commissions. The code will include a number of specific suggestions:
We think the charrette format - with its opportunity for participation from various sectors of the community - was a great idea. It's given rise to more good ideas for sharpening the city's future focus on a key part of town.