Lake Center District
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 reimagine 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.”
The Lake Center District runs along Portage Road between Osterhout 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.
This spring, on dates yet to be determined, staff from Farr Associates plan to spend three days in Portage listening to the public as part of a design charrette, an intense period of planning and designing. On day 1 of the charrette, the activities will begin with a community meeting where interested parties can view initial designs prepared by Farr Associates based on input from the February workshops and additional comments received since then. On day 2, designers and planners will spend the day revising the initial designs in a studio space at a location yet to be determined. This activity will be open to the public, who can watch the designers at work and contribute to the process in an open house style session. Finally, on day 3, a second community meeting will be held in the evening to present the revised drawings to the community.
But the process doesn’t end there. Farr Associates staff will return to their offices in Chicago to finalize drawings and designs, which will be presented to the community at an open house later in the spring. Taken together, these sessions will allow for the collaboration needed to create an attractive, functional and sustainable Lake Center District.
Watch the city’s Facebook page and website for confirmed dates and additional details.
If you have questions about the Lake Center District Workshops, please call the Office of the City Manager at (269) 329-4400.