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Winter Park-Maitland Observer
CRA Hosted a Downtown Master Plan Update Public Meeting on March 31, 2016, for Residents

CRA Hosted a Downtown Master Plan Update Public Meeting on March 31, 2016, for Residents

On Thursday, March 31, 2016, approximately 50 residents took seats around a number of circular tables to share their vision for Maitland’s downtown.
The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) hosted a kickoff event at Venue on the Lake to gather resident input on the Downtown Maitland Master Plan Update.  The purpose of the event is to explain the process and solicit initial perspectives on the development of downtown Maitland from the public.
The downtown area includes Maitland Avenue and the Cultural Corridor to west; Maitland Boulevard ramp and bridge to the north; U.S. 17-92 to the east; and southern train trestle to the south.   
Blake Drury, of GAI Consultants, Inc., kicked off the event with a brief presentation about the basics of consensus-based planning. During his talk he described two models: silver bullet and working.    The silver bullet model is driven by a single developer creating an “instant downtown.” An example of this model is City of Boca Raton’s Mizner Park. 
The working model uses existing structures and features within the municipality and enhances them. A good example of the working model is Winter Garden’s downtown.
Each table had a very large piece of paper with a blown-up map of the downtown area and space for notes. Residents were asked to work together at their respective tables to place green, blue, and red round stickers on the maps. Green stickers represented what residents liked in the downtown. Red stickers represented what they didn’t like in the downtown, and blue stickers represented areas that could benefit from improvement. 
When the exercise was done, each table appointed a spokesperson to share their top priority with the entire group. Top priorities included specialty retail, more green space, bike trails, and a unique sense of place.   GAI Consultants, Inc. will compile the results and will present their findings at a future meeting.

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