Vision to Action, Taking Steps

The Ford Site steps into the spotlight, as the property moves closer to market and a team of City staff and partners in the planning process embark on a Europe tour of cutting edge livable community developments.

It is apparent from Mayor Coleman’s message to the public that the City aims to connect the eventual planners and developers of the site with cutting edge examples of livable mixed-use developments.  In addition to the research being done on what is possible to build there, this can help demonstrate to the eventual owners of the property, that forward thinking development is very possible and even in their interests.

But what are ways to see these great ideas through?  There’s a range of options, some are in the works and some yet to be tapped.

Here is our latest update video covering the happenings around the Ford Site. In order to be able to make sure the site is on track for success, an important step is to understand how different elements of the design could work together for the best outcomes, as well as factors that may influence what is possible to build there. Then we can work on ensuring the developers, planners, etc. implement the beautiful outcomes we know are possible.

At the most recent public meeting related to the City’s Ford Site studies, Merritt Clapp-Smith laid out the existing Public Open Space priorities and the assumptions they are based on. She then invited feedback on preferences for how the (9%) roughly 9 acres of dedicated park space could be used, as well as the types of connections to the surrounding area. This feedback will be incorporated in an overall framework that will help guide zoning and direct recommendations to the eventual developer.

The Open Space meeting followed the Energy study update and the series will continue with transportation and infrastructure focused discussions this spring.

  • April 16 on Waling, Biking, and Transit
  • April 30 on Streets and Parking
  • May 2on Stormwater Management and other site infrastructure
  • Summer… Zoning, Employment, and Environmental Impact discussions

These studies are just a part of what will determine what is built. Other studies like the Riverview Corridor Study could support multi-modal transportation connections to the site, which changes how much car traffic could result from this development, if it becomes a jobs and/or recreation destination. In terms of ensuring the Ford Site is a success, there are many tools that could be leveraged to build in accountability to the benefits possible.  These tools, like Community Benefits Agreements and Developer Agreements, need to be explored further.

A couple ways to stay updated, on these happenings: you can subscribe to the City’s email updates to get a heads up when public meeting occur, follow the project on the City’s twitter (#FordSiteFuture), and get the ARISE email updates to hear more about how different elements of this development interact and opportunities to help ensure follow-through on the emerging priorities.

An amendment to the blog:

The next meeting on the Riverview Corridor will be March 20th, at the Francis Basket Food Shelf Transit Table, 10:00 am – 12:00 Noon (Francis Basket Food Shelf, 1293 E. Maynard Drive, #410, Saint Paul, MN).