Officials in the city of Frederick and the Downtown Frederick Partnership are seeking feedback in a study of ways to improve the downtown streetscape.
How people use the streets has changed a lot during the pandemic, with the addition of small parklet dining areas and takeout dining and other adaptations, said Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership.
Many of the changes weren’t meant to be permanent, but now city leaders need to look at possible improvements in the short, medium and long terms, she said.
The city, the partnership and the Ausherman Family Foundation have combined to hire Design Collective and RK&K to look at the streetscapes of Market Street between South Street and 7th Street and Patrick Street between Bentz and East streets.
The city paid $25,000 as its contribution to the study, with $20,000 from the Economic Development office and $5,000 from the planning department, city spokeswoman Ashley Waters said Tuesday.
The study will look at creating thoughtful design solutions, set priorities and develop a framework for future improvements to the streetscape for the pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and other people who shop, dine and attend events in the downtown area, according to a news release from the city.
A public workshop will be held on May 5 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the study, with ASL interpretation available and registration available at bit.ly/publicworkshop1.
A survey is also available online, with hard copies available at City Hall at 100 N. Court Street in both English and Spanish.
The study’s findings are expected to be presented to the mayor and aldermen in July.
The process is intentionally compact to help people to focus and get their thoughts together, Norman said.
And with much discussion of federal infrastructure legislation, they want to have a package together to do their best to access whatever resources are available, she said.
The questions will be how to best use the 60 feet of space between buildings on the two streets and satisfy the competing demands of pedestrians, shoppers and special events, Norman said.
The current streetscape was essentially created in the early 1990s, when the city moved utilities underground, according to city officials, although some modifications have been made since then.
Monica Pearce, of Tenth Ward Distilling Co. on East Patrick Street, said she thinks the study is a great idea. She, too, feels a lot of cool ideas came out of the pandemic, such as outdoor seating that helped change the feel of downtown, she said.
Pearce said she’s all for whatever comes out of the study in an effort to keep the retailers, residents and restaurants of downtown happy.
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