On October 14, 2020, at 6 PM, the public is invited to participate in a public meeting at which Farr Associates will present options for the Lake Center District Area Master Plan. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people that can assemble indoors is limited to no more than ten. As a result, the Farr Associates presentation will be broadcast live on Cable Access (Spectrum channel 995 and AT&T U-verse channel 99) and live-streamed at portagemi.gov/205. To voice a question or make a comment in real-time, please call (844) 854-2222 and enter Access Code 529853#. When prompted, press *6 to enter the queue.
The Lake Center District Area is an important part of the community. The rarity of not one, but two lakefronts, presents unique development opportunities that most communities desire. The Lake Center District Area runs along Portage Road between Osterhout and East Centre Avenue. A sound Master Plan for the future of the Lake Center District Area that benefits the community, affected property owners and businesses is essential.
The city hired Farr Associates, a planning firm that specializes in urban, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly developments, to help reimagine the Lake Center District Area as a destination corridor. To ensure that the Lake Center District Area was represented, the city assembled a Steering Committee made up of area business owners, developers and residents to help guide the city and consultant through the planning process.
To help shape the plan’s recommendations, several activities were undertaken. Two community workshops were held on February 10, 2020 to discuss the future of the Lake Center District Area with business owners and residents. Altogether, nearly 225 individuals representing the business community and residents attended the sessions. Also, a planning/placemaking virtual workshop was held on July 22, 2020, that provided an opportunity for the public to learn about the methodologies that Farr Associates would use to develop conceptual plan options for the Lake Center District Area. Throughout this time, the city invited public input to advise the direction of the work being accomplished. Approximately 75 residents provided the city with input using an online comment form or via email.
As another opportunity for public input, a three-day charrette was held on August 5 - 7, 2020. Farr Associates presented several initial design concept options based on all of the public input received to that point. As part of the charrette, the public was invited to participate in an online survey to glean opinions about specific design options. Finally, the public was able to attend an open house to view the proposed ideas, ask city staff and the consultants questions and provide more feedback on the concepts.
Then, using all of the insights gained through Steering Committee meetings, public meetings, written comments surveys and the open house, Farr Associates staff returned to their offices to work on the Lake Center District Area Master Plan, which will include several options for the city to consider. The planning documents, which include drawings and design options to help reimagine the Lake Center District Area as a destination corridor, have been prepared and are ready to be shared with the community.
Following the Farr Associates presentation on October 14, the proposals for the Lake Center District Area Master Plan will be available for public review and comment for ten days. The planning documents will be available at portagemi.gov/721, as well as at Portage City Hall (7900 South Westnedge Avenue), Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM. Public comment and feedback will be received before any plan is finalized.