Sierra Vista has long suffered from a lack of a downtown. It’s been a priority of city council for many years. How can we create a downtown in Sierra Vista that really doesn’t have one? One of our best options was to revitalize and renovate what we already have, let’s take Fry Boulevard and let’s make it better. Now the complete street will be implemented along West Fry Boulevard between North Garden Avenue and South Carmichael Avenue. A complete street’s approach usually adapts a road that is designed for the easy and fast movement of automobiles, to a more balanced model that accomodates people of all ages and abilities. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to designing a complete street. Rather, it needs to be custom-tailored to meet the needs and desires of the community. Some common aspects that you’ll see in a complete street include: wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes, barrier-free ramps, curb extensions to make pedestrian crossings safer. There may also be enhanced street-lighting, street trees, and pedestrian amenities. There may even be special design features added to create a unique sense of place and distinct identity for the district. The possibilities are virtually endless. There is numerous case studies of other communities from Michigan to other locations in Arizona where the initial public investment changed the environment which really set conditions for additional private investment. So the project’s location, because it’s tied to Fort Huachuca, the largest driver of our economy, I think it makes sense to have a beautiful, awesome location right next to the fort. It will provide some opportunity for the businesses already there, to do additional expansions, and we hope will draw in additional businesses to really tie-in to that entertainment district on the West End. That’s what we are trying to do with this project, that’s why it’s so important, because you’ve got to change the environment to bring the change that you want to see to a downtown here in Sierra Vista. The funding for this project is coming through the Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization (or the MPO), which is reponsible for regional transportation planning in our area. So they have received the money, and then the money comes to us. It’s already budgeted for and its ready to go. So there’s no impact to the taxpayers from this project. The purpose of the open house meeting is to gather input from the public on the features they’d like to see as part of this project. There’s a lot of really exciting ideas out there and gathering the input is going to be really important to determine which concept moves forward and the features it includes. The consultant is going to be bringing some concepts with them to help spark discussion. We don’t expect that one of those is going to be the clear winner, although it may. More likely, what’s going to happen, in the process of these meetings, the concepts will be combined, new ideas will come out and the final project we move forward with will be a combination of all those ideas. Please join us for the community meetings at Sierra Suites located at 391 E Fry Blvd on November 13th. There will be 2 community meetings starting at 1 – 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.