After months of public input that included more than 80 survey responses, ten open topic discussions, two discovery walks and one kickoff meeting, a plan is coming together for the West Jackson Streetscape project that will enhance this vibrant area of downtown Thomasville.
“Since kicking off our initial meeting for this project in August, we’ve worked directly with hundreds of Thomasville residents so that we have an understanding of what enhancements are most valued by our community for West Jackson Street between Madison Street and Remington Avenue,” said April Norton, Main Street Director. “Our staff is using the input we’ve received to create a solution that is built on the input of everyone who has taken an interest and engaged with us in the process.”
The West Jackson improvement project is focused on the area of West Jackson Street from Madison Street to Remington Avenue at the railroad crossing. The City of Thomasville developed a process to engage downtown merchants and area residents in conversations that would help to identify major areas of concern in this two-block stretch of downtown Thomasville. There are currently no plans to extend the project to other areas of East or West Jackson Street.
“Five major themes have emerged from the input we’ve received about this two-block area,” said Kenneth Thompson, Urban Designer. “Those include improving parking, improving safety for pedestrians and shoppers, improving sidewalks, and preserving the character of this section of downtown. We feel the final area of concern, filling the empty storefronts on West Jackson Street, will be resolved as we address these other concerns. Once public investment is made, private investment to downtown will follow.”
City staff is currently creating the plan based on the feedback received. Thomasville residents will have an additional chance to offer feedback during an upcoming open workshop where the draft design will be shared. The unveiling is scheduled for Monday, November 20th from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at Trinity Anglican Church on West Jackson Street.
“It has been a priority of our City Council that this project set a new precedent for public input regarding City of Thomasville projects,” said Norton. “With this in mind, our main goal throughout this project has been to develop a final plan based on citizen input that improves both the function and aesthetics of this area that extends from Madison Street to the railroad tracks at Remington Ave.”
Following the unveiling on November 20th, the draft plan will be updated to include any final feedback that is shared from the public during the review. After that, the plan will be presented first to the Planning and Zoning Commission and then to the City Council. The earliest date for any construction to begin in the downtown area will be mid-2018.
“We will work directly with our downtown merchants prior to construction so that we can develop a schedule that will be the least disruptive to businesses in the area,” said Norton. “While some disruption will be unavoidable, we want to be sure that we do all that we can to minimize the impact to local business.”
A full project timeline is available at Thomasville.org/Current-Projects. For more information on this and other opportunities for public input, please contact Lauren Radford, Director of Public Engagement and Outreach, at 227-4015.