Welcome back to the City of Groveland’s Wednesday Workshop where we explore the characteristics of a city with natural charm. In previous posts we’ve explored a range of topics including transect zoning, walkability, missing middle housing, and the value of parks and trails. Today’s post is unique as this is the first time we see how all these elements come together in one plan.
Councilman Waite, who represents the area as the District 5 Councilman, worked with city staff and local residents in the Blue Street Quarters earlier this year to envision how this historic neighborhood could reinvent itself while preserving its heart and soul.
Blue Street Quarters was originally platted in 1913, two years after the plat for Taylorville, (which is now known as Downtown Groveland). The Blue Street Quarters was envisioned as a complimentary neighborhood to Taylorville with a similar street grid featuring platted alleys and 60’ wide lots. Blue Street was one of the few streets to be paved and utilized which is why the neighborhood is commonly referred to as the Blue Street Quarters. The neighborhood’s rich history and engaged residents have captured the attention of the Mayor and City Council resulting in a collaborative partnership between the City and the community.
In the first stakeholder meeting, neighborhood residents worked with staff on a SWOT analysis to organize and identify the neighborhood’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Key community strengths from that analysis included vacant greenspace that could be converted to parks and trails, historic homes with vernacular architecture, close proximity to schools, and an engaged community of residents. Some weaknesses identified during the session included a canal that had not been maintained, a lack of sidewalks and street lights, and a strong desire for new, affordable housing.
The next meeting between residents and city staff focused on putting together an Action Plan to turn these weaknesses into opportunities for improvement. The Action Plan is organized into two columns, one for short-term solutions and one for long-term projects. It is further organized into infrastructure projects and regulatory updates.
As a result of this effort, the City has begun taking action toward maintaining the canal, adding new sidewalks, and discussing a new trail that could better connect the neighborhood to Downtown and the newly expanded South Lake Trail. These infrastructure improvements combined with the city’s code update will help modernize the community into a Trail Oriented Development full of Missing Middle Housing opportunities, while keeping the more quaint scale preferred by existing residents. With rumors of award winning Brodus BBQ returning, the Blue Street Quarters is destined to be one of Groveland’s premiere neighborhoods.
Check out the image gallery for excerpts of the Blue Street Quarters Action Plan and be on the lookout for a new post next Wednesday. As always, follow us on Facebook for more.