3rd Street development planning sessions set

MARQUETTE – Marquette officials are asking the public to come out for a five-day planning session to help guide development along Third Street.

The series of planning workshops called a charrette begins Thursday evening and runs through Monday.

“It’s kind of a big-picture project,” said Dennis Stachewicz, the city’s director of planning and community development. “It’s a five-day, intense community planning and design workshop.”

The in-depth and lengthy planning process will include participation from various sectors of the community.

Planning consultants will meet with business owners, elected officials and community members and then craft plans in response to the public discussions. The public will give input on the designs, which will then be updated.

“This is all being done in real time over the weekend,” Stachewicz said. “It helps the community kind of react to what they see.”

The process will continue until Monday evening, when the sessions will culminate in the presentation of a master land use plan and a form-based code that will steer future development along the Third Street corridor.

“The good thing about this five days of hands-on is that you generally have a good idea about what the final product that’s wanted by the community is,” Stachewicz said.

He said the planning sessions should focus on sustainable housing and transportation alternatives, energy efficiency and storm water management, among other topics.

Stachewicz said the city used a similar charrette process when crafting the downtown form-based code. That charrette lasted only three days, but Stachewicz said it was well-attended and well-received.

This weekend’s planning process is grant-funded, as the city – with support from the DDA and Northern Michigan University – received a $75,000 “placemaking” grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Stachewicz said the grant is intended to “create better places in Michigan and provide for a very intensive public planning process to help make that happen.”

The entire charrette will take place in the Marquette Commons building, and Stachewicz said citizens can drop in anytime.

The opening lecture of the charrette is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday and will be followed by a community input session.

Public plan reviews and community input sessions are also slated for 6 p.m. Friday and Sunday.

The closing presentation is at 6 p.m. Monday.

The charrette studio set up in the commons will be open daily, with other public presentations planned. A full schedule for the charrette is available at city hall or in the office of the Marquette Downtown Development Authority.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.