The meeting, set for December 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall, will also address three conceptual plans for the space left vacant by the demolition of the building at 1026 Roanoke Avenue, Roanoke Rapids Planning and Development Director Kelly Lasky said today.
The city used $35,000 of grant funding to pay Rivers & Associates to come up with the streetscape concepts as well as plans for the 1026 project. The money from which the $35,000 comes from was out of a North Carolina Department of Commerce Downtown Revitalization grant, which required no matching funds from the city. In all, Main Street Roanoke Rapids received slightly more than $94,000.
Rivers was chosen not only for its past work with the city but for some of its work in the Greenville area where it is based, Lasky said. “I’ve seen their pocket parks and have seen their design concepts over the last 10 years. We felt confident they could come up with a plan for the streetscape as well as 1026.”
There has been one preliminary meeting with the firm early last month.
In that meeting, Mark Garner, vice president and certified planner with the company, and Sharon Rhue, a landscape architect, spent the entire day on the avenue, meeting with Main Street Roanoke Rapids and a couple of council members as well as Ronnie Keeter of the state Department of Transportation.
In the meeting the team spent time “riding up the avenue taking pictures and making assessments. They have come up with three different designs. They are doing a template for the entire avenue,” Lasky said.
In the December 13 meeting, their concepts will be presented to the public. “They want to display the various concepts for public input. They want the public to write what they like and don’t like.”
While Lasky has not seen the plans herself, she says wants the plan ultimately chosen to be one which can be implemented on a limited budget and one which can be accomplished. “I don’t want a plan that will sit on a shelf. I’d like to see these proposals give a sense of community and connection, a sense of unity.”
Attendance at the meeting will give the public a chance for participation. “I want people to see the changes that could take place and know they had a part in the conceptual process. It truly is a public effort. The citizens’ comments will be taken into consideration.”
Equally important in the process is the feedback on the 1026 property, she said. “How we envision it as a public space. Is it a pocket park? A place for small gatherings? We want to get an idea of how people want to use that. We want to get as much public participation as possible.”