Lake Center District Area

The Lake Center District runs along Portage Road between Osterhout Avenue and East Centre Avenue. With the existing conditions on Portage Road come inherent difficulties with traffic movements and pedestrian safety.  A sound plan for a future Lake Center District that benefits the affected property owners and businesses is necessary.  The City of Portage is prepared to invest in the area to help stimulate the creation of an attractive and viable Lake Center District that functions on all levels – creating stability and encouraging investment while protecting the quality of life for Portage residents.

On February 10, the City of Portage held community workshops to discuss the future of the Lake Center District with business owners and residents. More than 40 individuals representing the business community attended the afternoon session and approximately 175 residents attended the evening session. Those who attended had the opportunity to talk with city staff and elected officials, as well as planning consultants who specialize in urban, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly developments.  Farr Associates will help the City Administration and Portage citizens re-imagine the Lake Center District as a destination corridor.  While no decisions were made at this meeting, the dialogue is assisting the city and planners with some initial “likes” and “dislikes.”

On July 22, 2020, the city held a virtual workshop called Placemaking 101 that provided an opportunity for the public to learn about the process that Farr Associates will use for developing plans and designs for the Lake Center District Area. 

On August 5, 6 & 7, staff from Farr Associates spent three days in Portage listening to the public as part of a design charrette, an intense period of planning and designing.  On Wednesday, August 5 at 6 PM, the activities began with a community meeting where participants viewed a presentation with initial designs prepared by Farr Associates based on input from the February and July workshops, as well as comments and feedback received since then.  The meeting was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Participants completed four survey questions in real-time and had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments over the phone.

On Thursday, August 6, from 8 AM - 6:30 PM, designers and planners spent the day revising the initial designs in a studio space at Portage City Hall.  This activity was open to the public but limited to ten people in the studio space at one time.  Participants could watch the designers at work and contribute to the process in an open house style session.  

Finally, on the afternoon of Friday, August 7, the consultants presented the revised drawings to the Lake Center District Steering Committee.  But the process doesn’t end there.  Farr Associates staff returned to their offices in Chicago to finalize drawings and designs, which will be presented to the community at an open house this fall.  Taken together, these sessions will allow for the collaboration needed to create an attractive, functional and sustainable Lake Center District.

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