Lake Center District Area

Lake Center District Area Master Plan Ideas Ready to Be Presented

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 Placemaking Study, which includes several options for the city to consider.  

This fall, the Steering Committee met several times to review the plan prepared by Farr Associates.  The committee members provided guidance and recommended certain alterations to the placemaking study.  

The Portage Placemaking Study for the Lake Center District Area, which includes drawings and design options to help reimagine the Lake Center District Area as a destination corridor, has been prepared and is nearly ready to be shared with the community.  The City Council will hold a Committee of the Whole meeting after the first of the year where Farr Associates will present the plan to the Council.  The Council will not make any decisions concerning the plan at this meeting.  

This spring, the public will have the opportunity to participate in a public meeting at which Farr Associates will present the Lake Center District Area Placemaking Study.  We hope that by then, the COVID-19 pandemic will be in decline to allow this meeting to be held in person.  Following the presentation, public comment and feedback will be received before any plan is finalized.

To receive meeting announcements and project updates, sign up for Notify Me at portagemi.gov/list.aspx and subscribe to the Lake Center District Area category.  Individuals may also submit comments and feedback about the project by selecting the link to the right.