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How the East End might look

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Public ideas have created a picture of ‘our plan’

By Scotty McDaniel

Around 30 government officials, business owners and community members gathered back in July and put their ideas for the future of Shelbyville’s East End into words.

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On Tuesday night those their words became pictures.

During a final public input session at Stratton Center, Amy Williams and Scott Siefker of HNTB Corporation in Louisville presented conceptual images and maps of how those ideas might look.

They worked off concerns expressed in July about what the public would see and would like to see for the blocks from 4th Street to Mount Eden Road.

They had cited poor streetscape, land use and  the transportation network, as well as a lack of an unique identity for the city and diversity of retail options.

What Williams showed the group Tuesday were artistic concepts of expanded retail, more open space, controlled development, a set of trails to connect to parks and even an amphitheater.

These ideas and images were woven into a set of goals that are being put place to remedy those problems.

"This will not be necessarily what exactly would be implemented but it’s a good idea of the character and feel of how it might happen. It’s really for 20 years down the road,” Williams said. 

Said Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty: "This is our plan. Every citizen in the city of Shelbyville has the opportunity to be a stakes holder in this.”

  The 5 goals   Guide land use

"That’s one of the very important things in the planning. What’s going to be there tomorrow? What’s going to be there 20 years from now?” Williams asked.

The plan encourages locally owned restaurants and cafes with sidewalk dining, architectural and design guidelines to create a unified streetscape design throughout, while discouraging development that takes away from the area’s quality of life. Residences over retail and offices would be allowed. 

Provide public spaces

"Your parks, your open space, your trails. How does that fit into the east end?” she asked.

The plan encourages the creation of a trail system connecting the East End to other parks and recreational entities, and supports reinvesting in current parks and recreation.

There is support for a gateway into the city celebrating Shelbyville’s heritage as well. Public plazas or open urban environments and even a gathering space for outdoor concerts and festivals are also mentioned. 

Ensure a functional transportation network

"Not only your vehicular, but your pedestrian. Where are your sidewalks? How are those connections made? How safe do they feel for the pedestrian? And also your bicycle?” she asked.

This goal encourages interconnectivity in the east end, with adequate benches, signs, trees, trash containers and other pedestrian amenities. Bike lanes and multiuse sidewalks are also a focus. A downtown trolley system makes the list of ideas to aim toward. 

Promote community development

"How do we do it? What are some steps we can take to get this done?”

The proposal suggests creating an Urban Renewal and Community Development Agency to organize property for East End redevelopment, as well as a Tax Increment Financing District to allow reinvestment in the area’s infrastructure. 

Encourage programming for all ages

"How do you use those open spaces and those publics spaces? How do you encourage new festivals or program for entertainment areas?”

The focus of this goal is to encourage an active lifestyle for residents of all ages, through entertainment, concerts, festivals, farmers markets, art shows, and more. 

  What’s next?   

Nothing in the plan is legally binding and is instead more of a guide to help the city stay true to what it wants long-term, in terms of zoning, infrastructure, and other improvements, Williams said.

So with the plan presented to the public, what’s the next step? It will move along the same way as  the HNTB plan for Simpsonville, which was approved in June.

"For really any of this you’re going to have to look at your zoning. They [Simpsonville] are doing the zoning now to make sure that its plan is possible. That’s one of the very first steps. The zoning in this area would need to be looked at.”

Boxes were set up around the room at each station if anybody wanted to fill out a comment card. he night’s input will be reviewed and the elements of the plan to be completed.

After that a draft of the plan will be created, reviewed and presented to the Triple S Planning Commission, which would make a recommendation to the city council for review and possible adoption.

  Final approval?

Williams said her organization hopes the plan would be adopted by the council in December.

If all goes smoothly, the city would need to need keep that image of the East End in mind when it comes to developing or reinvesting in the area.

"The city would need to work hand-in-hand with the developer to make sure [development] is realized in a way that reflects the character and spirit that we’re trying to do here,” Williams said.

"If you left this all to the independent market you’re going to get a hodgepodge and you’ll probably have some big holes. From the civic side it takes some initiative.” A