Summerville charrette draws crowd
The Cuthbert Community Center was packed full Monday night as around 40 people attended the Summerville Vision Plan kick-off workshop.
The 6:30 p.m. meeting launched a weeklong design workshop, or charrette, in which community members voiced their opinions on Summerville’s future. The topic-basic workshops were designed to foster discussions that will help the contracted planners, the Lawrence Group, construct the town’s 20-year Vision Plan.
The Lawrence Group has a variety of planning professionals, including landscape architects, economic planners and urban designers, who will be using the input to create a master plan for the town, which will be presented in late summer 2014.
“The Town has never planned beyond a town-wide comprehensive level before,” said Monica Holmes, project manager, at the kick-off. She explained to the crowd that the Vision Plan will include small area planning, for focus areas such as Oakbrook, Downtown and the new I-26 interchange, as well as site-level planning, which will draw attention to small details.
“This is a critically important meeting,” Mayor Bill Collins said. He asked participants to encourage participation from others.
The meetings were widely-attended, Holmes said.
The kick-off presented an opportunity to share national statistics that will affect the growth of Summerville.
Specifically, Holmes mentioned 80 percent of new population growth will be households without children. The trend can be seen locally, as she said more than 60 percent of those who participated in the charrette survey said they wanted more maintenance-free living in downtown Summerville, such as condos and apartments.
The surveys also indicated citizens are looking for more fine dining and entertainment venues, improved streetscaping, a new mixed-use town center and destinations for ecotourism.
The Cuthbert Center, which the Lawrence Group has taken over for the week, is filled with design boards, sketches, maps, workshop notes and diagrams.
The kick-off was a microcosm of the rest of the week’s events. Discussion took place on five topics: place making and town centers, housing, open spaces, transportation and design guidelines and regulations. Those topics were further broken down during the remainder of the week’s workshops.
At the conclusion of each day, the Lawrence Group held a project update reflecting on the day’s progress. The charrette will culminate in a closing presentation, which will be given at the Town Hall council chambers on March 6 at 6:30 p.m.
If a person was unable to attend the charrette but would like to contribute ideas, they may fill out the online survey at www.summerville.sc.us/visionplan