Houghton holds public forum on Waterfront Development Project
With plans for the Waterfront Development Project still being drawn up the City of Houghton decided to hold a public forum on the topic to get information on what the community would like to see done with the project.
"The meeting went very well, the ability to exchange information, hear people’s concerns, and get those concerns answered right from the source, was a really nice change for us instead of having to hear third hand what somebody read on Facebook," said Houghton’s City Manager, Eric Waara.
One of the main concerns for many citizens was a lack of community involvement in the project from the beginning.
"I personally would like to see more opportunities to discuss the project in a setting like this. I think that there are a number of members in the group that feel the same, we just want an opportunity to have input into the process," said Ben Ciavola, a Member of the Houghton Waterfront Development Citizen’s Group.
Currently both the city and partner Veridea Group are waiting on the results of a detailed study of parking downtown and the parking decks to help inform a plan moving forward.
"We can't plan a development without knowing if the parking decks that are there can remain there, and be built upon or if they should be removed, so we're also doing a structural analysis of the parking decks," said Michelle Thomas, Director of Development for Veridea Group.
The two studies won't be complete until late March or early April, with a concrete plan for the waterfront being drawn out at the earliest this summer.
"Again we're just starting to embark on this path right now, so let's have this conversation at the beginning and hopefully we'll have some more later," said Waara.