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The planning process to create a Downtown Revitalization Plan that guides the future of Downtown Middletown has begun. This planning process will allow the community, local leaders, and local stakeholders to understand the direction and the goals of the community in order to make better decisions regarding planning, development, and the overall function of Downtown. The following provides an overview of the planning process, including a description of visioning, the benefits of planning, and who will be involved in the Downtown Revitalization Plan.
What is a downtown plan?
The Downtown Plan will look at the potential of Middletown’s core downtown district through an engaging process that brings people together to express their ideas and aspirations for the future. It is the vision of what the community wants Downtown to become and the steps needed to realize that vision. The revitalization plan is important to those who live, work, and play in Downtown.
The process uses a variety of tools to build consensus around a desired outcome, future, or image. The process is built extensively on public and stakeholder involvement. It asks community residents and stakeholders:
- “What are your ideas for the future?”
- “What kind of community do you want to be part of?”
The answers to these types questions become the foundation of the plan.
Why have a plan?
The planning process helps communities, organizations, and individuals identify their ideas and plans for the future, and more importantly, how to make those ideas a reality. Planning can help communities outline actionable, incremental steps to move forward in a coordinated manner. Additionally, a number of benefits from planning are identified below:
- Creating shared goals for the future of Downtown;
- Identifying a way to make those shared goals happen;
- Building an understanding and goodwill between groups that sometimes don’t agree with each other;
- Inspiring ownership in people for their community;
- Developing new leaders in the community;
- Coordinating future private and public sector improvements;
- Communicating the opportunity of Downtown Middletown.
Who is involved in the planning process?
The Middletown Downtown Plan is supported by a number of groups within the City, including Downtown Middletown Inc., The City of Middletown, The Middletown Community Foundation, and the Middletown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. A Taskforce composed of a broad range of Downtown stakeholders, including members of City Staff, elected officials, business owners, property owners, and community members. The Taskforce acts as the overall director of the planning process, and represents the community in a number of ways throughout the process.
OHM Advisors has been retained to assist in the planning process. OHM Advisors is an integrated engineering, architecture, and planning firm with an office located in Columbus. OHM brings more than 50 years of public and private sector expertise, forward thinking, and insightful counsel to help plan for Downtown Middletown.
What is involved in preparing the plan?
As part of the planning process, information and data is gathered from prior planning studies, while current views and opinions are collected through community meetings and forums where residents are invited to provide input on the future of Downtown Middletown. Other sources include data gathered from the US Census, and mapping data provided by the City and County. The planning process also includes the following:
- Data collection and analysis that will inform the vision, goals, and objectives of the Plan;
- Multiple public outreach meetings;
- A community-wide survey of residents accessible online and at public meetings;
- An interactive project website designed to engage citizens online and host project information and data;
- Focused plans and strategies to improve targeted areas within the downtown; and
- Targeted implementation strategies, including projects, programs, and policies to achieve the desired vision.
How can I get involved?
Middletown residents are encouraged to participate in the planning process. Their input is vital to a successful Downtown Revitalization Plan. A series of community meetings/events will be held where the entire community is invited to participate and contribute to the shared vision of the Plan.
In addition to the community meetings, this project webpage has been created to allow community members to stay up to date on the project and share their ideas regarding the future of Downtown Middletown. If you are unable to attend a public meeting, you will have the opportunity to engage in the process on this site.