Pond and Co. consultants met with members of the city and community last night to discuss two concept plans for the Norcross Town Center Downtown Plan, an update on the Livable Centers Initiative study.
The purpose of Wedneday's town hall meeting was to gain feedback on updates made to the 10-year-old community master plan. Joel Reed of Pond and Co., along with his team and the project's stakeholders, collaborated with different land-use ideas over the course of several meetings and through the LCI study.
The team narrowed down its proposal to two concepts, which they presented at the Wednesday meeting. With the feedback from the community, they hope to use that information to build the city's official new downtown plan, which would be a blueprint for the next 20 years on what downtown areas should have offices, residences, parks, retail stores and everything in between.
The crowd of 25 people was not shy when it came to voicing their opinions. They were clear on what area uses they didn't like (homes and buildings turned into offices on Thrasher Street and around Thrasher Park, as seen in Concept A) and what they did like (more businesses on S. Cemetery Street, on both plans). Community members also gave suggestions for plan modifications.
Many agreed that they liked the idea of pocket parks in front of Norcross Elementary and Lillian Webb Park, especially to open up Historic Norcross to Buford Highway as an entry plaza.
An upscale shopping center on the corner of Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Buford Highway, similar to the Edgewood retail district on Moreland Avenue in Atlanta, received positive feedback from the community, too.
Buford Highway medians to improve safety, town center gateways to let visitors know that Norcross exists, and connecting Skin Alley also were widely accepted in the plans. Some citizens even suggested that Skin Alley become solely a pedestrian and bicycle area instead of a road.
Another cool idea that was presented is having a pedestrian tunnel at Holcomb Bridge Road under the railroad tracks. Anyone that has tried to walk or push a stroller on that road would agree that the area needs to be more leveled, so Concept B suggested a tunnel to be built under the railroad tracks.
Both concepts showed a greenway trail for bicyclists and pedestrians that connected all the major parks and schools together. Concept A was the only one that showed the trail connecting toward Peachtree Industrial from Holcomb Bridge Road, which many felt was important for the city's future plan.
One major issue that was voiced about the overall town hall meeting was that the younger demographic wasn't represented well. As local resident Marilyn Meacham pointed out, the Norcross Town Center Downtown Plan is for the next 20 years, so today's younger generation would initially be the ones enjoying the future of Norcross.
If you missed Wednesday's meeting, the next meeting will be held Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. The meeting plans to provide a final consolidated plan for the community to review and do final tweaking before being the official city plan.