City development is top topic at annual town hall
October 4, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
The city of Newcastle will host its annual town hall Oct. 22, and while past events have focused on city finances, this year, attendees can expect to hear about a slew of projects that mean a great deal to Newcastle’s future.
Development of the Mutual Materials site, potential plans for Lake Boren Park improvements and a presentation about Newcastle 2035, the city’s Comprehensive Plan, are all on the agenda for the meeting, City Manager Rob Wyman said.
Residents will have an opportunity to offer their thoughts on those topics and, at the end, ask their own questions of the City Council. The city will again use pulse pads to gauge audience opinion.
Representatives from AvalonBay Communities Inc., the firm chosen to purchase the 52-acre Mutual Materials site, showed preliminary plans to the City Council’s Economic and Community Development Committee Aug. 23.
According to the company’s website, AvalonBay “is in the business of developing, redeveloping, acquiring and managing high-quality apartment communities in the high barrier-to-entry markets of the United States.”
Kyran Hynes, development manger, and Brian Fritz, vice president of development, presented an initial vision of the site that includes residential and commercial components.
The site will likely include a variety of housing types, from townhomes to apartments, that will trend on the upper-end of the rental scale, slanted toward a luxury market, they said.
The company estimated there would be about 40,000 square feet of commercial or retail use in the space.
There are also initial talks to include a splash park, and a central lawn that could be used as a community gathering space.
Hynes and Fritz told the committee that they worked diligently to implement the vision of the city’s Comprehensive Plan when developing preliminary designs, one of the reasons they included plans for a central lawn.
The process is still in the very early design phase, but the company is ready to share their vision with the community at the town hall.
AvalonBay representatives will give a 15-minute presentation, before asking some audience questions to assist them as they work to develop the Mutual Materials site.
If you go
Newcastle town hall meeting
Lake Boren Park
The City Council directed staff to brainstorm future plans for Lake Boren Park, and the results were presented at a Sept. 17 meeting.
Staff offered a multitude of possibilities, including beach enhancements, installation of a boardwalk and improved grading to make the park surface level and more usable.
The city will present some of the ideas at the town hall meeting to get feedback on what residents want to see in their community park.
Costs of any potential projects will also be discussed, as will ways to pay for them, Wyman said.
The city of Newcastle’s volunteer Planning Commission is reaching out to residents for feedback as it looks to update the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan, rebranded as Newcastle 2035 for the remainder of the update, is a document that outlines the city’s vision and goals for the future.
It’s a useful tool for city staff members and the council as they conduct city business, and is a valuable resource for businesses seeking to set up shop in Newcastle.
A state statute requires cities to update their comprehensive plans by June 2015. Newcastle last completed its Growth Management Act-mandated update in 2003.
The document will help shape a vision for the city’s next 20 years. Residents will get the opportunity to offer their opinions about what the city’s future should look like at the town hall meeting.