June 23, 2024

Revamp and Connect

By Viki Volk
Publisher

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A phased revamp of Millison Plaza, the long awaited new entrance to Nicolet Park,  concepts for retrofitting aging strip malls into greener enclaves and a lot of additional street connections defined a consultant’s final draft of a new design for the newly christened “downtown” of “The Bay District.”

Robin Finnacom, director of the Community Development Corporation, left, points out a new idea for FDR Blvd. in the final consultant draft of the Lexington Park Master Plan.

The unveiling last week of maps of a re-imagined Lexington Park core – as it was known before planners began revamping the name – marked the culmination of four months of public and private meetings with residents, business owners and large land owners in the commercialized segments of the 8th District.

It drew the least attendance of any of the public meetings. Fewer than 100 people attended and many of them were county officials and staff. Anticipation of  dramatic declines in property assessments in the 8th District served to further dampen the reception.

The consultant’s plan faces easily another year of study and tinkering by county planning staff, appointed citizen planners and county commissioners before a plan is adopted or rejected.

Whatever the shape or status of the ultimate plan, the early reports of property assessments just completed in the 8th District (and the 1st District) suggest that neither private investment nor public coffers will be strong enough to seed any large implementation projects.

However, support remains strong among officials who have attended all of the meetings that at least some of the road connections and the entrance to Nicolet Park are doable in the near term. And that if investment is not soon made in the downtown area of The Bay District the entire region will suffer.

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