Residents should become involved in Negaunee project

We join Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron and the newly reactivited Downtown Development authority in encouraging city residents to get involved in the planning process for the city’s downtown.

The DDA, which had been inactive for some time, held its first meeting recently and is focused on, among other things, a downtown streetscape project that improve the site’s “walkability,” city officials said.

It’s all part of the city’s Moving Forward campaign, a unified effort designed to position Negaunee for a prosperous future.

A Mining Journal story on the issue stated the proposed changes in the downtown streetscape include converting the portion of Jackson Street between Silver and Tobin streets near the Negaunee Senior Center into a pedestrian walkway and green space, and expanding the Veteran’s Memorial Park; closing Marquette Street and developing a pedestrian plaza and walkways; creating a “discovery park” with mature trees at the intersection of Iron and Silver streets; and bump-outs at intersections, which will allow pedestrians to be more visible to drivers prior to entering the crosswalk. The existing TIF district, which captures taxes for use in the downtown, will be expanded to increase revenues.

Heffron went out of his way to note that the streetscape project would be implemented in stages over a number of years, which is wise, given the nature of the changes being discussed. The city council is expected to take the issue up in in April after the DDA reviews it next month.

Residents can and should get involved in all of this. Check the city’s website for times and dates when city boards and councils meet.