Ideas Shared at Master Plan Open House
Materials coming soon...
Thanks to all who participated in the Master Plan Open House at the high school last Wednesday to learn more about the issues the Town's Master Plan is addressing and to offer their ideas, concerns and opinions.
Phase I of the Master Planning process engaged hundreds of stakeholders in 2016 in stakeholder interviews and focus group meetings, at community events, with an on-line survey, and at a Community Open House, culminating in December with a report titled “Visioning for the Master Plan.” The report, which is available on the Master Plan Committee’s page on the Town website, includes a community vision statement and documents the community engagement process. The report notes that a priority for Manchester’s residents is having well-maintained public infrastructure (water, sewer, roads and sidewalks, storm water). In addition, accessible and well-managed parks and open spaces, a vital downtown, protected natural resources, walkable neighborhoods, diversity in housing, and an exceptional school system were also identified as important, along with government transparency and community spirit.
At this point, Phase II of the Master Plan process is focused on identifying potential opportunities for growing the Town’s tax base to help pay for needed infrastructure and facility improvements. The questions being asked include “Are there types of commercial and/or residential development that would help meet existing needs, grow the tax base and fit into Town without unacceptable change to community character, ecology and quality of life? What are they, where could they be located, and what might they look like?” An activity station for each of these questions encouraged participants to share their views, resulting in marked-up posters and maps that the Consultant Team and Master Plan Committee will review, synthesize and report back on.
Concurrently, the Complete Streets study that will support the transportation element of the Master Plan is looking to identify potential roadway improvements to make Manchester a more walkable community. The Complete Streets activity station asked participants to respond to twenty project ideas, including – among others – locations for benches and bike racks, reduced-width travel lanes, multi-use bike and pedestrian paths, a roundabout, new or improved crosswalks, an area of back-in parking, expanded sidewalks, interactive speed signs, and one-way streets. The ideas generated considerable dialogue and a lot of questions, including how and when decisions will be made and how residents can continue to provide input.
The Master Plan Committee is now working with the Consultant Team to synthesize the information received at the Open House and publicize both the activity stations and participant response. We hope to have all stations posted on the Master Plan page on the Town’s website by the end of the week, along with answers to questions that were posed. We are also looking for ways to encourage ongoing community response to ideas offered for consideration and to generate new ideas.
To access the Master Plan Open House information, the Visioning Report and supporting documents, please visit the Master Plan Committee page on the Town website. If you would like to receive regular email updates and meeting notices from the Master Plan Committee, please use the Notify Me feature to subscribe. For additional information or questions, email Town Planner Sue Brown or call (978) 525-6436. A Stronger Manchester Starts With Us!