PROJECT AND COMMUNITY UNDERSTANDING
The City of Appleton traces its origins to the Fox River, which because of its rapids and topography served as an early trading post for explorers, early settlers and Native Americans. Lawrence University was founded at the same time as the City was settled, and along with the river, has played a key role shaping the City’s economic and cultural landscape.
The paper industry played a particularly strong role in Appleton’s and the Fox Cities’ development, helping establish and grow other related industries including converting, mechanical engineering and paper product development. A strong industrial base supported the growth of a large middle class and gave rise to a thriving City including College Avenue in downtown Appleton.
However, like many cities of its size, Appleton went through a period of transition from the mid-1960s to 1990s as retail and commercial activity migrated out from the central business district to the fringes. Unlike many similar sized cities, however, Appleton took steps to reinvent its downtown including establishment of an indoor mall, maintenance of downtown office space, investment in public infrastructure including a central library and support for a new hotel.
More recently, new parks, downtown residential development and a mix of entertainment venues have helped continue the upward trend.
Appleton today serves as the Fox Cities’ economic and cultural hub. Key private sector employers include Thrivent Financial, Appvion, Miller Electric and Appleton Medical Center, among others. The Appleton Area School District and Outagamie County are among the largest public sector employers, the latter employing hundreds of staff in the downtown area.
The City, and in particular downtown Appleton, has emerged as a regional cultural and tourist destination with attractions such as the Performing Arts Center, Trout Museum, History Museum and Building for Kids complimenting a diverse mix of shopping and restaurant destinations. Through the efforts of organizations such as Appleton Downtown Inc (ADI) and many partners, the downtown also beneﬁts from a rich mix of programming and events throughout the year.
As was noted in the RFP the current downtown has grown into an arts and entertainment district, as evidenced by the establishment and growth of complimentary niche components including museums, art galleries, community centers, restaurants and drinking places, public markets, a performing arts center and concert halls.
Looking ahead, the City has several key opportunities to further enhance community livability and the vibrancy of downtown, including a potential new/or remodeled library, additional housing including along the Fox river, parking and mobility enhancements and several redevelopment and inﬁll opportunities along the river and along key commercial corridors including
Wisconsin Avenue, Richmond Street and Oneida.
Appleton’s key assets include but are not limited to:
• A large daytime workforce, including downtown workers
• Lawrence University and an excellent school system
• Fox River and an extensive parks and recreation system
• Strong, healthy neighborhoods, faith based organizations and non-proﬁts dedicated to making Appleton thrive
• Historic buildings and good urban design elements, especially downtown
• High traffic volumes downtown and along key commercial corridors
• Successful events and programs such as Mile of Music, Octoberfest and Farmer’s Markets
The City and its key partner on this project, ADI, anticipate working with a consultant team that will take the time to understand and listen to the community and key stakeholders in order to craft a practical roadmap to help guide the next phase of public and private investment within the City and within the downtown study area. Speciﬁcally, the consultant team will conduct an in-depth rewrite of the downtown plan (chapter 14 of the City’s Comprehensive Plan) as well as an update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan including the City’s Park and Recreation Master Plan (chapter 18 of the City’s Comprehensive Plan).
The minimum requirements for the ﬁve-year update are identiﬁed in the Implementation chapter of the Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 12).
OUR APPROACH - COLLABORATION AND CREATIVE PLACEMAKING
As described in the project understanding, our consultant team is fully committed to collaborating with the City and ADI on this project. Our approach is grounded in the belief that close collaboration is necessary to complete the project given the budget and expectations for deliverables.
Shifting consumer preferences for downtown living, working and playing trends are increasingly feeding off each other as downtowns become hubs for eating, the arts, events and diverse programming, which in turn strengthens the downtown’s draw as a unique destination. As the lines between community development and economic development continue to blur, it is important the City recognizes the role of the arts and culture in creating a sense of place that will serve as a magnet for housing and office space for younger professionals and families, empty nesters and professional services, as well as for additional hotel/entertainment development and other industries.
More importantly, our team members believe this approach will generate a better planning outcome, both in terms of the ﬁnal deliverable and the ability and desire of the City and its partners to actually implement it. We believe collaboration on this is the most critical success factor for a successful Comprehensive Plan Update, and look forward to working closely with the City, ADI, local businesses and other key stakeholders, including Appleton residents, on this project.
Our approach will also be grounded in the principles of creative placemaking, deﬁned by Ann Markusen as a process in which:
…partners from public, private, non-proﬁt and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.
The consultant team feels strongly that employing a creative placemaking approach is an excellent framework both for updating the City’s overall comprehensive plan as well as the downtown plan rewrite.
Shifting consumer preferences for downtown living, working and playing are increasingly feeding off each other as downtowns once again become hubs for eating, the arts, events and diverse programming, which in turn strengthens the downtown’s draw as a unique destination. As the lines between community development and economic development continue to blur, it is important the City recognize the role of the arts and culture in creating a sense of place that will serve as a magnet for housing and office space for younger professionals and families, empty nesters and professional services, as well as for additional hotel/entertainment development and other industries which contribute to a successful Central Social District – the hallmark of successful downtowns.
It is clear through investments in Houdini Plaza, the Building for Kids and others that the City is already embracing this approach.
What This Means for the Project and Work Program
A project approach grounded in strong collaboration and creative placemaking will generate a Comprehensive Plan update grounded not only in important economic and demographic trends and analyses, but one which also responds to and incorporates a strong sense of place perspective and understanding of how downtown stakeholders currently use downtown and plan to in the future.
Our approach will leverage creative and natural assets such as the Trout Museum, Fox River and downtown Farmer’s Markets; and will involve both youth and empty nesters in plan development. We will tap into and leverage Appleton’s arts and cultural communities, including less recognized creative assets tied to the existing manufacturing base and other local industries such as artists and musicians involved in endeavors such as The Draw, Mile of Music, the PAC and Lawrence University.
SCOPE OF WORK
Our collaborative placemaking approach serves as the foundation for successfully updating the City’s Comprehensive Plan including a full re-write of the Downtown Plan (Chapter 14). The SEH team is committed to reﬁning and organizing the following tasks along with establishing the most expeditious distribution of labor in concert with the City. The SEH team has sufficient time available to complete the scope of work by the targeted ﬁnish date of October 2016.
TASK 1. COMMUNITY AND STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION
These tasks are focused on engaging the citizenry of Appleton in the planning process through a number of active and passive opportunities. Activities within this task will be held throughout the project with public events scheduled at key points in the planning process. These activities will be focused on building public support for the updated recommendations as well as building neighborhood and business coalitions to sustain community involvement to move redevelopment forward with these newly engaged and energized community groups.
Depending upon location, constituency and schedule, these activities may be executed by the full project team, individually by SEH team members or City staff as well as through use of online tools and activities. The entire project team intends to work collaboratively throughout the project and be actively involved in the meetings and workshops described in this section of the proposal. Individual roles and responsibilities will be ﬁnalized during the initial partnering meeting to be held with the SEH team and City staff. Following the meeting, we anticipate ﬁnalizing this aspect of the scope of work in collaboration with the City, resulting in a published Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) clearly identifying stakeholder types, engagement objectives for each, engagement activities and timeline. The SEP will address both the overall 5-year Comprehensive Plan update and the full rewrite of the Downtown Plan.1.1 Stakeholder Steering Committee Meetings (SSC)
The SEH team recommends and will assist the City with the formation of a SSC. The SSC will oversee the project and meet monthly (10 times) with the entire project team. For purposes of re-writing the Downtown Plan, the SSC may be expanded to include additional downtown representatives.
SEH staff will facilitate these as working sessions (with participation by the City staff) with activities such as identifying key issues, reﬁning evaluation criteria, taking walking tours to review opportunity sites, ﬁlling in implementation-action matrices, etc.
In addition to the SSC meetings, the SEH team will utilize its local office to provide coordination between City staff and the project team. Meetings will be set up every two weeks to review project status including schedule, budget and scope of work. Relevant project team members will be invited to attend these meetings in addition to the project manager.
Specific stakeholder groups that should be involved include:
• Common Council
• Plan Commission
• Appleton Downtown Inc.
• Appleton Redevelopment Authority
• Downtown Appleton Business Improvement District
• Chamber of Commerce
• Fox Cities Convention and Business Bureau
• Nearby neighborhood groups
• Downtown property and business owners
• Downtown residents
• Landmarks Commission
1.2 Community Tour (to occur during Task 2)
Project team members will conduct a site tour with SSC members (by car and walking) to explore and discuss various aspects of the community and downtown together (to be integrated into SSC meeting #1).
1.3 Issues and Opportunities – Key Stakeholder Interviews
The project team, led by SEH staff, will solicit recommendations on key issues that should be addressed as part of the Comprehensive Plan Update. Key groups include but are not limited to: Common Council, Plan Commission, other city Boards and commissions. External stakeholders include but are not limited to: Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce/Fox Cities Regional Partnership, Appleton Area School District, Appleton Downtown Inc., Appleton Northside Business Association, Realtor Association for the Fox Valley, Valley Home Builders Association and Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.
1.4 Focus Groups and Interviews – Private Sector Interface (to occur during Task 2)
The project team, led by Redevelopment Resources, will meet with key property and business owners including representatives of the development “delivery system” such as public officials, ﬁnanciers, developers, property owners, brokers, institutional leaders and others in a round table (focus group) format. The purpose of these discussions will be for the team to understand opportunities and constraints to investment in the study area from the unique perspectives of these individuals and organizations.
1.5 Focus Groups and Interviews – Arts, History, Culture and Sustainability (to occur during Task 2)
The project team, led by SEH Senior Urban Designer Bob Kost, will conduct up to two focus group meetings with key arts and culture, sustainability and historic preservation community leaders. The purpose of these discussions will be for the team to understand opportunities and constraints to investment in the study area from the unique perspectives of these individuals and organizations. Speciﬁc placemaking ideas will be explored using the Project for Public Spaces framework. The meetings will be scheduled to coincide with other scheduled travel such as the initial partnering meeting and issues and opportunities workshop. The SEH project team will ﬁnalize the agenda for these meetings in conjunction with City staff. SEH planners have extensive experience integrating arts, culture and historic assets into neighborhood and sub-area/corridor plans.
1.6 Neighborhood Meetings and Informal Public Input (to occur during Task 2-3)
Working closely with City staff, the project team will organize a meeting with neighborhood leaders in order to receive input on issues and opportunities at the neighborhood level including land use and urban design analyses. Participants will also be asked to identify relevant assets to support neighborhood development.
In addition, the meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss how the City, the project team and neighborhood leaders can leverage this planning process to strengthen neighborhood organizations and coalitions for the future. For example, participants will be asked to provide input into the selection of topical lecture subject matter to be presented as part of “community conversations” described below. The outcome of this discussion will help tailor future public participation activities as well.
As a means of meeting people where they are, presentations and/or public input activities will be developed and taken to events such as the farmer’s market and downtown summer concerts. Additional presentations may be planned and delivered in concert with the City and project team. We feel this is an important outreach step in helping establish and support neighborhood groups to aid the implementation of the Plan and create buy-in for future reinvestment in the downtown study area.
1.7 Downtown Plan Review Meetings
The current Downtown Plan will be reviewed with City and ADI staff with a benchmarking of progress to date against original plan recommendations, considering economic and market constraints, staff turnover and other factors out of staff control. Each initiative will be reviewed as to current status, including success and challenges, overall impact on the Downtown and knowledge gained if any that may be applied to future initiatives.
1.8 Topical Lectures – Community Conversations (to occur during Task 3)
The SEH team will plan and deliver two public presentations on topics related to aspects of the downtown plan such as:
• Keys to Successful Downtown and Mixed Use Development
• Creative Placemaking; Blending Arts and Culture into Redevelopment Strategies
• Sustainable Infrastructure for Northern Cities
• Water, Recreation and Public Space – Linkages and Nodes
The SEH team and City could also engage other local experts such as University professors, arts professionals or others to participate in these presentations or to develop additional topical lectures. These lectures will be presented downtown at the Lawrence Chapel or along the river at the Atlas Mill building or The Draw.
1.9 Five Community Workshops
Workshop #1, #2 and #3: Issues and Opportunities (to occur during Task 2 Data Gathering and Analysis)
The SEH team will facilitate three community workshops to formally introduce the project and provide participants an opportunity to share views in greater detail. The workshops will be conducted in different areas of the City to encourage neighborhood participation. The team will facilitate small groups of participants in discussions concerning issues, opportunities and their vision for the City of Appleton. Facilitators will employ a SWOT analysis and a nominal group technique to organize and rank issues and opportunities.
Workshop #4 and #5 – Draft and Final Project Open House (to occur during Task 4)
The SEH team will facilitate two open houses to present and discuss the draft and ﬁnal updated Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Plan with community members. The open houses may be held at an outdoor venue such as Houdini Plaza depending on weather conditions. Another option is to piggy-back onto an existing event such as a downtown farmer’s market. City/ project team sponsored BBQs or other unique events can bolster turnout.
1.10 Online Survey (to occur during Task 2)
The SEH team, with input from the SSC, will develop a set of brief survey questions and post them online using Survey Gizmo or other equivalent provider to obtain a broad level of citizen input regarding community-wide and downtown issues and opportunities. Content analysis will be conducted to develop key themes based on qualitative feedback.
The SEH team will produce four electronic newsletters (with review/input by City staff) prepared for distribution to the citizens of Appleton. Content will include progress of the study and information regarding time, location and topic of public engagement opportunities. Documents will be distributed at four strategic points of the planning process as determined in the kick-off meeting.
1.12 Virtual Open Houses (to occur during Task 3)
SEH team and City staff will post and monitor open house concepts and related draft policies online (Survey Gizmo, mysidewalk.com or www.nextdoor.com) for ranking and commenting by community members.
1.13 On-Going Online Engagement Services (to occur during Task 2-5)
Using an interactive online public engagement service such as engagingplans.com or mysidewalk.com greatly expands the degree and type of public dialogue and interaction between participants and project team members – beyond simply posting open house documents. SEH has found this to be a useful means for expanding outreach. A recent project in Sherwood, Wisconsin garnered over 4,500 page views and hundreds of citizen comments. Social media outlets such as the City and ADI’s Facebook pages as well as nextdoor.com will be used to share interim project status reports, key ﬁndings and upcoming public meetings and events.
Note: SEH has a paid subscription to these services and can provide this service at no additional cost if the City feels it is a priority. There are several options available to post documents to the web and receive public input. A ﬁnal determination of which combination of tools to use and over what period of time will be made after consulting with the City.
1.14 Social Media
If identiﬁed as a priority in the SEP, the project team is prepared to set up and manage a project Facebook page and Twitter feed and develop a plan for how both the City and SEH project team will keep content current and monitor content and postings.
1.15 Formal Plan Updates/Presentations
SEH staff will assist in updating the Common Council and/or Planning Commission during the study process.
TASK 2. DATA GATHERING AND ANALYSIS
The purpose of this task is for the project team to review and evaluate background information, existing conditions and identify additional baseline information needs if necessary. The analysis will focus on establishing a thorough and consistent understanding necessary to support the planning process.
2.1 Initial Day-Long Partnering Meeting (including Community and Downtown Tour)
The SEH team will facilitate a partnering and planning meeting to kick-start the project. The focus is to collaborate with the City staff team in clarifying all project team roles, responsibilities and deliverables (best ﬁt/skills and time for accomplishing speciﬁc tasks), establishing communication protocols and reﬁning the scope of work. Additionally, the project team begins to identify initial project goals, planning and redevelopment issues and opportunities.
In addition to the above, this workshop will include the following activities:
• SEH review of relevant background information provided by the City prior to the workshop
• Identiﬁcation/conﬁrmation of key stakeholders and primary issues
• Reﬁnement of scope of work with special emphasis on stakeholder engagement
• Establish potential structure, members and recruitment strategies to assemble the proposed SSC per Task 1.1.
2.2 Study Area Tour and Market Reconnaissance
The SEH team will research, observe and discuss preliminary opportunities for, and barriers to, central city investment.
In addition to the tour, we will conduct a review of available primary and secondary data and information sources and identiﬁcation of conditions including: types of ownership; opportunities for property assemblages; timing and character of investment activity; utilization, access and visibility of parcels; availability and condition of infrastructure; overall development image and political climate; and other factors that may be identiﬁed.
Potential impacts from regulations and other restrictions (including agreements) which could affect the marketability of properties within the study area will also be explored.
Findings will be documented through maps and photos of the location of existing buildings, major vegetation areas, waterways and features, public facilities, transportation systems, utilities and installations, landmarks, underutilized lands and potential opportunities for redevelopment or additional development.
2.3 Project Base Mapping
The SEH team will gather and assemble available mapping and background data (e.g. GIS shapeﬁles, AutoCAD drawing ﬁles, digital orthoquads, etc.). Data is to be provided by City staff and other government agencies and may include both primary and secondary sources of data.
2.4 Review and Analyze Background and Prior Planning Efforts
The SEH project team will evaluate and update data collected in the previous Comprehensive Plan and subsequent amendments, Chapter 14 Downtown Plan, zoning and subdivision regulations, as well as compiling a series of analysis factors based on land use, property values, downtown housing, redevelopment opportunities, transportation and multimodal systems and urban design. Analysis to consider existing zoning, historical inﬂuences and patterns, demographic data, traffic and other relevant information.
This task item will also include a literature review to understand current downtown conditions including ADI’s Annual Operating Plan, the BID Plan the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, the Downtown Parking Analysis and relevant studies and information pertaining to the library and proposed exhibition center. As part of this task item the project team also proposes partnering with the History Museum to identify and leverage historical assets for downtown placemaking.
Community-wide and downtown speciﬁc ‘Forces and Issues’ diagrams will be developed to visually summarize key ﬁndings from this task.
2.5 Review Availability and Effectiveness of Programs
The SEH team, led by Redevelopment Resources staff, will develop a thorough understanding of the interplay (or not) between the various organizations and resources available through local, state and federal sources. Existing resources will be catalogued and benchmarked against available resources (technical, ﬁnancial and collaborative) based on direct experience, industry best practices and the example of other successful communities. The beneﬁt of our team to this particular task is grounded in direct experience running multiple formats of organizations and a thorough understanding of Wisconsin’s ﬁnancial incentives for community and economic development.
2.6 Existing Land Use and Buildings Analysis
The SEH team will conduct an inventory that includes existing land use conditions, building utilization, property conditions and occupancy/vacancy status for the study area. Vacancy rates for downtown property will be analyzed and compared to trends in downtown occupancy with like communities, separated out by business category (retail, office, restaurant, residential, etc).
2.7 Real Estate Market Analysis
Competitive Analysis of Downtown Appleton. Understanding the real estate market in context of the downtown study area is one perspective but developing a comprehensive view of its context throughout the City as well as the greater Fox Valley is critical if the biggest vision for the future of downtown Appleton is to be realized. A competitive analysis of downtown Appleton will both inform the market study and provide insight necessary for intelligently interpreting the results of the real estate market analysis.
Block by Block Analysis. Real estate is a critical part of any long-term branding, development/redevelopment and marketing efforts. The bricks and mortar of your community tell a story to visitors and tourists both directly and indirectly. A real estate assessment can help uncover opportunities for enhancing visitor experience, ﬁnding redevelopment opportunities, improving tenant mix, increasing business sales, addressing building repair situations/potential blight issues and garnering involvement and investment from property and business owners.
Our assessment will include the following work:
1. Inventory all property owners in the study area.
2. Inventory all businesses in the study area.
3. Interview all property owners willing to participate. What are their short and long term goals for the real estate?
4. Interview all business owners willing to participate. How does this particular location and property work for their business?
5. Document general property information, i.e. land area, building area, age, types of uses, etc.
6. Evaluate and rank general property conditions.
7. Evaluate the current tenant mix within each block and how that ﬁts into the district. Make recommendations for changes.
8. Evaluate and make recommendations for speciﬁc redevelopment opportunities.
9. Evaluate if current zoning, ordinances, new planning efforts, etc. supports real estate potential in the community.
In order to guide (or manage the outcome of) the future of downtown properties, tenant mix and care/upkeep of buildings, it’s vital to understand the goals and positions of the owners of commercial buildings in the downtown. In order to achieve many of the goals stated above, knowing the current status and future plans of each property in the downtown provides critical information which will inform future action. Understanding each piece of the puzzle and working with property owners while redevelopment parcels are identiﬁed will facilitate more control of the desired outcome for ADI, the City of Appleton and property owners.
Trade Area Identiﬁcation. The SEH team will determine the boundaries of potential trade area(s) among land uses with potential for development or redevelopment within the study area. Criteria which will inform these boundaries will include: physical barriers, such as highways and major arterials; location of possible competitive projects; proximity to population, employment and/or other activity centers; and other market considerations which inform the development and investment patterns.
Compile Current Demographic and Economic Data - City-wide and Downtown Study area. The SEH team will analyze market conditions within the trade areas, city and region including: population and household growth rates; income levels; psycographic segmentation; consumer spending patterns; and employment growth ﬁgures. As part of this task item, all required Comprehensive Plan data sets will be updated in accordance with the ﬁve-year update requirements, including but not limited to data pertaining to Issues and Opportunities, Housing and Economic Development Plan elements.
Analyze Trends in Visitors and Spending for Downtown Attractions. The SEH team will analyze visitor spending, including a review of hotel room supply. Also analyzed will be attendance rates and patterns at Downtown attractions to garner insight about timing and seasonality, and to inform about possible partnering opportunities and events which could piggyback with other initiatives to increase draw into Downtown. A survey of Fox River Mall shoppers will be conducted as part of this task item to understand regional perceptions of downtown Appleton.
Market Supply and Demand Analyses - Downtown Focus. The SEH team, led by Redevelopment Resources will prepare a proﬁle of supply conditions among all potential land uses. Based on conclusions drawn through completion of earlier tasks, including a reatil leakage analysis, we will forecast demand for potential land uses and product types (individually and in various combinations) and estimate market share (capture rates) for select parcels based on levels of intervention. The following development uses will be analyzed:
• Housing, including market segmentation/income levels for downtown
In terms of forecasting supply and demand for academic, institutional, governmental and public facilities, the SEH team will meet with local government and educational officials to review and discuss existing facility plans and future project needs.
2.8 Land Use Demand Projections (Downtown Plan)
The SEH team will provide future land use projections based on the market analysis results, parking/transportation studies, reviewing forthcoming development and realistic options for land use, redevelopment, etc. We will take into consideration concurrent downtown parking study ﬁndings and compare to impacts based on future land use demands. The team will prepare preliminary conclusions of the various land use and development intensity opportunities and challenges, including recommendations for appropriate locations for residential, office, retail/service commercial and mixed-use development.
The SEH team will utilize both its own commercial/residential real estate experience as well as that of local and regional seasoned mixed-use developers to ensure that targeted locations are responsive to the local market.
2.9 Transportation (Downtown Plan)
The SEH team will develop a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing multimodal transportation system and identify potential facility deﬁciencies posed by the additional land uses and development capacities identiﬁed in the market analysis. The team will obtain and review recent transportation studies including the Downtown Appleton Mobility Plan being completed by AECOM in order to inform Task 3 activities.
Though not speciﬁcally identiﬁed in the RFP, the project team recommends that following the market analysis and outcome of Task 3, the team computes preliminary trip generations for expanded and new uses in order to:
• Identify potential transportation and parking system deﬁciencies and improvements
• Identify existing and potential pedestrian and bicycle movement constraints and improvements
• Prepare a draft technical memorandum summarizing the impacts of potential project development program/market expansions on the transportation system elements
2.10 Urban Design Analysis (Downtown Plan)
The SEH team will conduct an urban design analysis focused on streetscaping, downtown aesthetics and public art including the following components:
• Review existing zoning and development codes to develop a deeper understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the current regulatory framework
• Establish criteria to guide the quality, form and appearance of the built environment such as built form, ground level building design, sidewalks, space for outdoor dining, parking, streets, plantings, public art, signage and lighting
• Meet with downtown stakeholders to learn about their design ideas/ preferences and discuss how these ideas can inform the planning process
• Discuss maintenance practices, issues and ideas with appropriate City staff to apply practical day-to-day realities to the development of the design vocabulary
• Conduct a design/development preference survey and facilitate a discussion regarding various aspects of the built environment such as shape, massing, form, location, color, pattern, style, etc.
• Summarize the design preference ﬁndings and discussions and use this information to inform the development of the downtown design recommendations
• Develop a design vocabulary speciﬁc to expressing the uniqueness of Appleton’s built heritage. Depicted in visual matrix format, the vocabulary will present exemplary images from Appleton of the primary urban design and building design components such as the following (to be reﬁned by SSC):
– Frontage types
– Public art
– Bike/pedestrian amenities
– Street types
– Streetscape/pedestrian ways
– Building types
– Building materials
– Arcades and balconies
– Roof type and cornice design
2.11 Natural and Cultural Resources
As a part of our approach to creative place-making, we propose that the SEH team analyze current arts and cultural organizations, facilities and programs within the study area to understand the potential for leveraging their economic, social and physical contributions to enhancing the competitive market advantage and quality of life. This task will incorporate feedback from both the public workshops and focus group meetings described in Task 1 and will include providing recommendations for enhancing the Arts and Entertainment District, along with establishment of one or more additional recognizable districts in the downtown study area. Sub-tasks to include:
• Identify opportunities for public art and assess issues related to artist selection and long-term maintenance
• Identify locations for key urban/riverfront amenities
• Identify historic resources and how best to utilize them
• Provide recommendations to accommodate downtown events such as parades, festivals, farmers markets, concerts, art shows and other outdoor special events
• Meet with property owners and other stakeholders to deﬁne a program for public spaces including applications for integrating green infrastructure
2.12 Utilities and Community Services and Facilities
The SEH team will assess infrastructure and community facilities including a review of existing facility plans and needs assessments to ensure both are adequate to support ongoing and future development of the area. Based on public input and SSC discussion the team will update the objectives and policies of the Utilities and Community Facilities element.
2.13 Site Forces and Issues Diagram
Analysis ﬁndings will be summarized and graphically interpreted on a project area base map. This illustrative plan will diagram the team’s initial response to the existing conditions and analysis. The plan will highlight important linkages, gateways, vistas, preliminary redevelopment opportunities, land uses, building conditions, etc. and be used as a guiding diagram for the alternative scenarios development task.
2.14 Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update
The SEH team, led by Gregg Calpino, Senior Landscape Architect and Park Planner, will update the current Parks and Recreation Plan in accordance with WDNR guidelines.
2.15 Downtown Vision and Placemaking Principles
Drawing upon community input and previous meetings and analyses, the SEH team will work with the City and ADI staff to prepare a set of draft downtown vision statements and supportive placemaking principles for review, discussion and reﬁnement by the SSC and full project team.
2.16 State of the Downtown Report
In order to provide the context for Task 3 activities, a State of the Downtown Report will summarize the majority of information collected in Task 2 including the following components listed below:
• An analysis of how and to what extent downtown Appleton is currently succeeding in creating a Central Social District (CSD), one which provides a broad range of activities and uses that attracts new residents, visitors, and business guests.
• Introduction including purpose of current study and executive summary of current conditions as shown in the Site Forces and Issues Diagram
• Context including physical boundary of study area, past successes, and history of planning for study area including relevant plans, key ﬁndings and lessons learned
• Assessment of urban design, design preferences, design vocabulary, land use, districts, natural resources/open space and boundaries including inventory of existing buildings and uses, property conditions and current occupancy status
• Economic Assessment including Market Analysis – demographic/ psychographic analyses, market supply characteristics and demand estimates by land use type for short- and long-term (re)development, utility capacity and public investments
• Natural and Cultural Resource Assessment including arts, natural resources, open space, trails and historic assets
• Transportation assessment including potential impacts of new uses as identiﬁed in the market study
• Urban design assessment including streetscape, walkability, and public gathering assessment, as well as other design items identified in sub-task 2.10
TASK 3: ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT
The research, ﬁeldwork, public input and analyses will be used as a foundation for preparing and reﬁning alternative future scenarios (overall and site speciﬁc) for downtown enhancement and redevelopment.
3.1 Finalize Downtown Vision and Placemaking Principles
The SEH team, City staff and SSC members will reﬁne the draft project vision and placemaking principles as needed during Task 3. These will guide in generating and evaluating alternative scenarios that are grounded in the community’s priorities as well as market realities.
3.2 Identify Targeted Development and Redevelopment Areas
The SEH team will work with the SSC, City and ADI to identify speciﬁc sites and develop programming recommendations. Based on task 1 input including but not limited to SSC meetings, community input, market analysis results and developer interviews, the SEH team will prepare a preliminary set of criteria to be used in the context of selecting development sites and present these criteria to the project team for review and reﬁnement.
Catalyst concepts and associated development programs will be prepared and tested with regard to: potential land uses and product types; block patterns, building footprints, parking and connection points; needed infrastructure and mobility improvements; and ﬁnancial feasibility.
3.3 Downtown Charrette
The SEH team recommends that a design charrette be incorporated as an additional item into the scope of work identiﬁed by the City/ADI. We have found that incorporation of an intensive design charrette builds consensus around priority action items by aligning stakeholders around a common vision for the study area. In diverse communities such as La Crosse and Fish Creek, Wisconsin, we had 75-150 people actively participating in all phases of the charrette, with additional participants taking part in one or two charrette activities.
We propose to organize the three days as described below, with the focus of the charrette on RFP task items no. 5 and no. 6 including targeted development and redevelopment areas and aesthetics, walkability, streetscapes, public art and public gathering spaces.
Evening Pre-Day One: Set of charrette work/meeting space
Day One: Full project team (consultants and City/ADI) orientation and site analysis brieﬁng; project update meetings with downtown stakeholders; introductory community and downtown stakeholder meeting to validate project goals, vision, issues, opportunities, analysis ﬁndings. This may include map markups, sim-redevelopment game play and other interactive small group activities.
Day Two: Morning consultant team work planning meeting; development of initial design concepts; full project team design review session with downtown stakeholders; evening reﬁnement work session. Work products will include hand written charts/lists, a range of hand drawings from plan diagrams, illustrative plans, cross sections and perspective sketches.
Day Three: Morning consultant team work planning meeting; continued reﬁnement of design concepts; lunch hour full project team work product review; completion of charrette work products; early evening presentation with community and downtown stakeholders. Final work products will include digital summary (PowerpPoint) of summary information as well as hand drawn graphics, original hand-drawn diagrams, illustrative plans cross sections and perspective sketches.
3.4 Refinement of Placemaking Alternatives
The outcome of Task 3.3 will likely include identiﬁcation of preferred alternatives related to public art, streetscapes, gathering spaces and other strategies to encourage visitors and residents to enjoy downtown, including but not limited to:
• Public art
• Green infrastructure
• Bike parking
• Trails and multi-modal connections
• Building placement (setbacks, build-to lines)
• Building height and massing
• Roof and cornice design
• Roof top decks and patios
• Façade transparency
• Building materials
• Windows and doorways
• Arcades and balconies
• Exterior building and site lighting
The SEH team will reﬁne these alternatives into more detailed design recommendations including conceptual block-level site plans, massing and development data for redeveloping and or enhancing speciﬁc site areas (inﬁll housing, mixed use, office and entertainment uses, streetscape, multimodal transportation and parking, green infrastructure, open space, etc.) identiﬁed earlier in Task 3. This information will be provided to City staff for them to vet against existing regulatory controls and to generate preliminary economic analyses. Up to three designs will be prepared for selected detailed redevelopment opportunity sites.
3.5 Refinement of Redevelopment Concepts
Depending upon the level of general consensus which emerges during the charrette, the outcome of Task 3.3 may include the identiﬁcation of preferred redevelopment concepts which complement and enhance existing business, provide new development opportunities and directly contribute to quality of life improvements.
SEH team members will review, discuss and reﬁne initial concepts during a hands-on work session involving sketching, mark ups, etc. Following the work session, the SEH team will ﬁnalize and illustrate design recommendations including preparation of up to three renderings of downtown/waterfront housing, commerical, or mixed-use developments and up to two public space renderings illustrations.
SEH team members will prepare iterations (2-3) of urban design concepts (buildings, streetscape, public open space, etc.) for the study area to explore ideas for leveraging civic reinvestment through inﬁll development and enhancing the public realm and connectivity. Designs will be developed using a combination of hand drawing and computer software mediums including AutoCAD, Google Sketch Up and Adobe Creative Suite.
SEH team will distribute interim design products to SSC members, City and ADI staff for review and discussion via video conference (GoToMeeting or equivalent platform).
3.6 Downtown Manifesto
The SEH team will prepare an illustrative downtown manifesto that tells the history and summarizes current assets and liabilities of the downtown. The document will summarize and build from prior planning efforts including the 2013 Vision and SWOT exercise completed with ADI and numerous stakeholders.
3.7 Update Future Land Use Map
SEH planners and GIS specialists will assist the City staff to update the Future Land Use Map for select areas.
3.8 Review of Refined Design Recommendations
A public open house will be held summarizing the results of Task 3 activities.
TASK 4: IMPLEMENTATION PLANNING
A detailed Implementation Plan will be developed to facilitate ADI and the City of Appleton to meet the goals of:
• Growing downtown as a visitor (and resident) destination
• Strengthening the residential density through a variety of solutions and product recommendations
• Attracting new businesses to downtown in all the appropriate sectors
• Increasing the diversity and vibrancy of the hospitality and attraction offerings
• Improving riverfront usage and connectivity
Based on the plethora of data gathered, analyzed and applied, the project team will blend the data with the vast experience in creating successful business district across the Midwest and develop, with City/ADI input, recommendations which are realistic, bold and implementable.
This includes targets for expansions of various land uses as recommended in Tasks 2 and 3 and goals for each of those over time (short- and long- term). Options for project funding (including ﬁlling the gap) and roles and responsibilities of various parties participating in the project delivery system will be identiﬁed as well as benchmarks for evaluating project outcomes (i.e. return on investment).
Based on the prior review of various incentives, programs and applications, and in light of new opportunities identiﬁed in Tasks 2 and 3, the SEH team, led by Redevelopment Resources, will identify preferred development incentives to support speciﬁc redevelopment and development opportunities in the downtown study area.
4.2 Sample Proformas (Optional)
Though not identiﬁed speciﬁcally in the RFP, the SEH team (with input from City) will prepare a set of assumptions for use in the preparation of economic analyses for downtown catalyst sites addressing project revenues, development costs, operating expenses and economic return targets (both public and private). Using these assumptions, the SEH team will prepare 10-year development proformas designed to quantify the magnitude of “gaps” in the ﬁnancial feasibility of the preferred alternatives. This task item is not included in the proposed fee schedule.
4.3 Implementation Strategies and Action Matrix
A series of speciﬁc action steps tied to goals and objectives will be developed and supported with the assignment of the responsible party or parties, a timeline for implementation and potential ﬁnancial and technical resources to facilitate success. Private public partnerships will be drawn upon in most instances. The action steps and subsequent outcomes will be prioritized based on our team’s knowledge of the ﬂow and availability of resources and the timing of possible grants.
Financial Mechanisms. The SEH team will identify and analyze the potential application of different ﬁnancing mechanisms and strategies in the context of advancing identiﬁed Downtown Plan initiatives. The objective of this task will be to ensure that the City and its partner organizations understand the breadth of resources needed to implement priority strategic initiatives and achieve desired outcomes.
Priorities for Investment. Our team will identify public improvements that support desired outcomes for the study area as well as prepare an action plan with priority capital projects and programs, policy and regulatory changes, ﬁnancial resources and investment priorities identiﬁed along with the implementing entity.
Benchmarks. The SEH team will develop set of qualitative and quantitative benchmarking variables and incorporate them into an electronic database with identiﬁed sources. Qualitative benchmarking variables will relate to the goals and desired outcomes of the project team. Quantitative benchmarking variables will include key market indicators including equalized value targets.
The entire data set will allow client team members to monitor the progress of redevelopment initiatives over an extended period of time.
A signiﬁcant commitment in time and money is necessary for the City and downtown businesses, residents and property owners to effectively promote the downtown districts as thriving live-work-play mixed-use areas, and to successfully develop the opportunity sites identiﬁed in the updated Downtown Plan. The implementation strategy/action plan will be developed including the following components:
• Identify multiple funding sources for public improvements
• Identify incentive options and possible public-private deal structures for key redevelopment sites including potential for privately funded public open spaces in the downtown study area
• Recommend proposed policy changes
• Recommend proposed zoning changes
• Recommend organizational structure(s) for Plan implementation
• Performance Indicators and Program Monitoring
• Recommend a program of implementation measures to include regulations, policies, public works projects and ﬁnancing measures to implement the plan
4.4 Identify and Prioritize Implementation Items
It is critically important that the consultant team engage City staff, elected officials, ADI staff and Board members and other key stakeholders in development of implementation strategies. The strategies and action plans must be grounded in reality and supported with funding and operational resources, as well as broad based political and business support. Within the current ﬁscal climate it is important that the Plan prioritize future investment opportunities rather than simply provide a long “wish list” of desirable projects and programs.
The SEH team will therefore work with the groups identiﬁed above, at up to three special meetings, to develop evaluation criteria (including but not limited to complexity, cost, risk and potential barriers) and rank implementation items.
TASK 5. PLAN ADOPTION
5.1 City, Stakeholder and Community Review
The City will distribute the draft ﬁnal plans to desired review parties and compile a single set of review comments which will be provided to the SEH team to facilitate the ﬁnal Comprehensive Plan update including the new Downtown Plan. This task will include the ﬁnal public open house meeting to share the ﬁnal plan with the entire community. The report will be placed online in an easily readable and viewable format using the “Engaging Plans” platform or similar online project website.
The SEH team will participate in up to three additional review and approval meetings with the City/ADI to facilitate approvals. The team will review comments and recommended edits will be incorporated into the ﬁnal plans for approval and distribution.