Winter Park residents want slower traffic, central rec center | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park residents want slower traffic, central rec center

A couple dozen Winter Park residents packed into the town hall on Wednesday night to take part in a workshop for Imagine Winter Park, the town's updated Master Plan.

The update will replace the town's 2006 Master Plan, and serve as a policy document meant to help town staff prioritize and made decisions regarding land use, economic development, public services and more. The process began almost a year ago, and has developed through a series of stakeholder interviews, community workshops and online surveys.

Workshop participants were led through a brief presentation by associates of Logan Simpson, a Fort Collins based town planning firm that's been working on the project for the last year. Guests were then split into groups to discuss specific ideas with regards to the plan's four principle pillars: character and culture, global and local connectivity, outdoor recreation and environmentalism.

A myriad of issues were discussed in each topic, perhaps none ranging more widely than in character and culture. As a whole, participants expressed an interest in increasing the town's diversity of businesses and aesthetics, but also in people in trying to attract a younger and more ethnically diverse community.

Talking points were largely broad, but there were also more specific ideas to improve the town's culture like fostering an environment friendlier to the arts via the creation of a community theater, and creating loosely uniform architectural designs to make the main street feel less like a "strip mall."

The discussion about connectivity largely centered on pedestrian safety. Residents emphasized a desire to slow traffic and improve crosswalks. Several residents also proposed roundabouts at both ends of the town to help somewhat differentiate between Highway 40 and "Main Street," and to encourage motorists to stop and shop.

The outdoor recreation roundtables focused on creating more opportunities with a more diverse set of activities aside from skiing and mountain biking in the community. Participants expressed that the town should serve as a centralized hub for outdoor recreation around the county and beyond, but explore opportunities like rafting and hiking elsewhere. The discussion also included the potential of a centralized outdoor recreation center, a bike sharing system and ways to make the trail system more accessible for persons with disabilities.

Recycling dominated the conversation around environmentalism, as residents stressed the lack of convenient recycling options in town. Guests also highlighted maintaining a healthy river as a priority, and discussed means to increase conservation efforts in local businesses. The potential for a plastic bag tax was also discussed.

Those who weren't able to attend the workshop but still want to voice their vision for the town can fill out an online survey available on the town's website. The town will take some time to review the public input, and tentatively plans to publish a draft of the update in June, with hopes of adopting the new plan sometime in July.

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