Early Saturday morning approximately 60 people gathered at the Charrette Studio (372 Depot) to discuss the future of the River Arts District. The event began with a brief introduction from Stephanie Monson Dahl, the Riverfront Development Office Director. Next, Lee Einsweiler (from Code Studio, the lead consultant for the project) explained the basics of form-based code, outlined charrette events and highlighted the community’s role in the process. Lee also discussed some topics and ideas for participants to consider during the breakout session. Click here to download a copy of the presentation.

Following the presentation, participants divided into 6 groups. Each group, with the guidance of a facilitator, worked on a large map of the study area, drawing diagrams and writing ideas that describe the River Arts Districts today as well as illustrating concepts for the future.

To conclude the session, each group selected a spokesperson that presented their table’s big ideas to the larger group. The presentations allowed participants to see common interests emerge. Attendees were also asked to fill out a card describing, in a few words, the area now and in the future. Comment cards were also on hand and could be filled out if any ideas were missed during the event. Some ideas discussed during the session included:

• Incentives for affordable rents for artists.
• Concern about loss of artist diversity.
• Preserving existing character – working artists, architecture, open space on the river.
• Integrating the African-American community – jazz club, soul food, grocery store.
• Connectivity – railroad crossings, pedestrian bridges, missing sidewalks, greenways, river access, better pedestrian connectivity between artist nodes, trolley system, bike taxis.
• Signage, branding, improved wayfinding, visitors center/public restrooms, maps for tourists.
• Places to sit, public gathering spots, tables, chairs, shade, pocket parks, playgrounds, outdoor dining, art in the parks, sculpture garden, performing arts center.
• Better parking options, centralized parking/structured parking.
• River recreational uses.
• Need a more 24-hour environment, quiet in the evening, more residential opportunities, boutique hotel.
• Keep taller buildings away from the river.
• Support the existing industrial.

Click here to view photos from the event.

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