Our Area Master Plan V.1

Join us at the Optimist Recreation Center (703 Oakwood Ave. NE) on June 12th from 6-8PM for a reveal Small Area Master Plan.

Over the past eight months, city planning staff in coordination with the Northeast Huntsville Civic Association and the Five Points Historic District Association gathered opinions and ideas from residents in a series of public meetings to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. unnamed-13

This will be an open house-style event with no formal presentations or exercises, so you may come and go as you please. Staff from many departments will be represented.

The plan highlights several issues considered important by the residents of the study area, including:

Parks: Residents identified the neighborhood parks and Land Trust access as a strength of their community, but some improvements can be made. Come and tell staff how you want to use the parks: Bierne Park, Oak Park, Philpot Park, and Lewter Park.

Streetscape: Improving streets in accordance with the new city-wide Complete Streets policy. Come find out what that means and how you want to use the ribbons of asphalt and concrete in the area.

Pedestrian Connectivity: Highlighting new sidewalks and crosswalks to make access to amenities easier and safer. If you were in charge of spending limited $$, what are the priorities?

Zoning: Encouraging development that complements the surrounding architecture and land uses. What should houses and stores look like? Is there enough diversity?

This plan is still a draft, and comments will be gathered at the meeting.

BONUS:

Charles Marohn, renowned civil engineer turned city planner,  will be in town on June 14th, from 5-7 pm at the Museum of Art.

https://www.strongtowns.org/eventspage/2018/6/14/huntsville-al

 

Priorities and Preferences

Our vision for improvements in our area begins to take shape with the help of professional planners and engineering staff.  Imagine if Andrew Jackson Way had stores and apartments above them as in this picture; a lot of people liked that configuration! This sort of preference can/may lead to new zoning policy to make it a bit easier for a developer with vision to accomplish the makeover.

 

Check out the results of the last two meetings here:

http://bigpicturehuntsville.com/five-points-northeast/

We live in the BEST city in the state because leaders and residents show up and communicate!

Big Picture, Big Deal? Yep, for the king and queen of the castles.

To: Your Highnesses of Five Points and All other Points in NE Huntsville, being kings and queens of your castle

From:Your humble and professional Staff of Huntsville Planning and Zoning and the elected leads of the NE Huntsville Civic Association

You are invited to the first Big Picture planning session for our small area, to scheme and dream of the perfect community surrounding your castle, and to clarify what you want done with our tax dollars and contributions earmarked for the city budget!

Join the BIG Picture planning session on October 17th at 6PM at the Cooper House (405 Randolph Ave. SE).  You will be able to participate in interactive exercises to help your civil servants create a Small Area Master Plan for the neighborhoods. This event is free and open to the public. People who RENT or Own Rentals are also welcome! 

Before the meeting, please consider asking yourself: “When money is no object, and I am in charge, I will ( build, tear down, improve) ___________ for my community.  What do I enjoy most about the area and what do I want to improve? What are the opportunities to create a close knit, healthy community?   What will I spent my cajillion dollars on?

Is this worthwhile?

Your highness, as king and queen of your castle, be assured this process is important because it will inform future capital expenditures in the area.

For example, so far:

  • the Ditto Landing Master Plan resulted in new programming and construction on the river

and

  • the Downtown Master Plan fostered new private investment in housing and commercial services, and at the commoner’s street level, the construction of dedicated bike lane and improved walk ways.

Planning staff has identified six principles that will guide the final plan:

  • Build a Live/Work/Thrive Community
  • Expand a Sustainable, Resilient Economy
  • Design a Mobile and Accessible Transportation Network
  • Maintain a Network of Exceptional Education
  • Support Local Arts and Culture
  • Develop Healthy and Active Neighborhoods

Small Area Plans are created from public input and are tailored to the unique challenges facing neighborhoods and opportunity sites. Do mark your calendar, your highness:

Oct. 17, 6 pm, at the Cooper House (405 Randolph Ave. SE)

Special thanks to the Central Presbyterian Church for the use of their facility. 

More information on this event and the BIG Picture can be found at

http://bigpicturehuntsville.com/

April 25th Meeting

Join us Tuesday eve, 4-25 at the Optimist Rec Ctr, 703 Oakwood Avenue, at 6:30 (meet and greet) & 7:00 meeting. In addition to meeting Beth Norwood, a talented neighbor, the purpose of the meeting is to decide what action we can take as a community in support of parents to influence kids to not hang out with drug dealers or try narcotics and amphetamines. (“Just say no” campaigns just don’t work.)

This activity is to follow up on results of our January meeting when members and residents voted on safety as the most important topic for us to work on together. Safety includes crime prevention… and we learned from police officers that 80-90% of crime is related to drugs!  If we tackle the drug traffic issues with kids, we have a better shot at preventing crime over the long haul.

BEFORE the meeting, we will ask for everyone’s opinion on ways we can influence kids to stay out of trouble with drugs through an on-line competition of ideas. The on-line competition will be announced via email to members and to Nextdoor accounts in our service area. DURING the meeting, we will make an action plan to implement the ideas that get the most votes and are S.M.A.R.T.  Please, invest 1.5 hours in your community at this meeting.

City Budget Requests

In June we present a list of needs and wants to the Mayor for consideration in the budget process.  Look around NE then come to the meeting or comment here and tell us what else we need from the city:

  • Beirne Park- more shade trees & ?
  • Oak Park- greening at the street, continue sidewalk east on Oakwood past the park, include trailhead signage downtown
  • Bollards along Bankhead sidewalk to protect runners all year preparing for Cotton Row Run
  • Bus shelter @ Roses Center
  • Smart timers at all Five Points corners
  • Bike Patrol of O’shaunessy, McKinley, Rison, Halsey, & Lincoln Village / Meridian Street
  • Improve drainage capacity of Dallas Branch watershed to relieve people of the flood zone designation

We hear and know that…

Oak Park Yeti ?

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Adam Rosetta reported a “sighting” of a furry creature on the Dallas Branch trail, a spur off of Oak Park Trail.  Adam heard it holler: Whaaboo!, the ‘come on out and play’ signal.  Adam says there will be a yeti tracking party in or near Oak Park this summer, followed up by a fall festival to swap stories and play games on the theme of “our”  yeti.   Join the conversation about this and other helpful (truly) information on nextdoor.com.

Gimme Shelter

On the days when you don’t want to drive out of our area but still want to explore, you may like to know that the first bus shelter for NE was installed on Monday, 4/17/17 on Andrew Jackson Way.  The shelter will mean a lot to the workers of the day-care at Jackson Way Baptist Church, to anyone who wants to ride to the new pools at the Natatorium and to kids who want to ride to the splash pad and disc golf at Brahan Springs Park.   The shelter was requested last year by your NEHCA.  Thanks go to our city Transportation Division, General Services, and Jackson Way Baptist Church.

Cross pollination of neighborhoods

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We hosted the first NEHCA spring festival and plant swap, the “Garden Gathering” at Optimist Recreation Center on Saturday, April 8th.  At least 100 generous people came out bringing items to share, to learn about other grow-y things and meet cool people from the NE Hsv neighborhoods. One man said “I think I’ll hang around a little longer and see what else shows up!” He was either referring to the great people or the cool plants. Kids made “pizza gardens”, too. We appreciated support of our city Landscape Management Division/ Green Team, C.T. Garvin’s Feed and Seed, Bennett’s Nursery, Cunningham’s Pot Yard, Mr. & Mrs. Simon of Florida and Five Points, Denise Garrison of Five Points, Anna Pollard of Old Town, and Master Gardener Mary Howe from Brownsboro. And most of all, we thank Sabrina Simõn for conceiving, designing, and implementing the festival.

Self Serve Services

Hsv Connect

Please use the city service request system known as “Huntsville Connect” or “SeeClickFix” to report blighted property, potholes, streetlights out, trashcans left out after pick up days, etc. NEHCA members see your service requests and can chime in if you aren’t getting resolution. Set up an account and use it often, please.  Sign up here: https://seeclickfix.com/huntsville

 

As always, if you see something odd going on, say something!
Call 256-722-7100 to HsvPolice non-emergency dispatch

Progress for Northeast

In July of 2016, we submitted a list of items to the Mayor, City Administrator, and the Department Managers for improving NE Hsv, and we asked for commitment to these items beginning in October 2016.  They discussed each item and reported quickly that “some [items] are going to require a little more analysis, some are significantly more expensive than was estimated, and some are reliant on a few other things being completed, and a few we can hit right away”.  A progress report on each item is as follows:

Re-stripe Oakwood Ave. to improve safety for residents on Oakwood Ave in the 40 mph section This topic was a popular on nextdoor.com and on “Imagine Huntsville” message boards.  The realignment of lanes can happen when the road is repaved because the stripes are melded in the road surface!  City-wide repaving is based on a scoring system from 10 to 60.  Roads ranked in the ’40’s are put in the queue for city council approval.  This section of Oakwood is currently in the 20’s.  It is estimated to be five years, maybe less, for resurfacing.  In the interim, Traffic Engineers will study the overall patterns to make sure that a reconfiguration of stripes would not mess up the overall traffic flow in the area.

Bus Shelters on Andrew Jackson  Did you know there are 12 bus stops on this street? Yet there are no bus stop shelters, and most of us agree that we want to encourage use of buses as an investment in our overall economic development.  Parking and Transit is able to install at least one on the street pending approval of a site near the heaviest ridership: one at Jackson Way Baptist Church/Dollar General and another near Hardee’s. Transit representatives will be in touch with private property owners in the next few weeks.  By the way, the buses are clean and provide a pleasant experience, thanks to the drivers’ sense of customer service.

Safe Pedestrian Crossings  We asked for pedestrian-centric systems in the Five Points business district and adjacent to the Optimist Rec Center.  The latter site meets everyone’s goal for connecting pedestrians of all ages to the built environment, in this case, the pavilion, playground and gyms.  Mid-block crossings have to meet federal guidelines. Traffic Engineering will undertake a study this year for the proposed crossing to see if it would meet standards.

Philpot Park  We asked for ways to increase foot traffic to the pocket park; that is, more reasons to walk to the wonderful open space.  The dog park idea was nixed, but the other ideas stuck. Immediately after the city’s meeting, Parks and Rec manager Steve Ivey sent soccer goals to encourage pick-up games.  P&R staff also ordered balance and strength fitness stations for all ages and will create an attractive area next to the lil’ kids play equipment under the trees. Site work is underway and the Water Fountain is Working now!

Oak Park  We asked to convert a small field to a dog park and using the concession stands for public art.  The answer is “Not now” for the dog park, but when there is a more clearly articulated art project to enliven the grey block buildings, they will listen!  Maybe the area can serve as mini-plazas with a fountain and mosaics?  We will have to think of ways to raise money to make it happen. Let us know what you have in mind if you want to see the concession stands look lively.

Optimist Park The idea of having an out-door movie screen on hand for community use on the pavilion grounds didn’t fly, but the request for an on-line reservation system resonated.  This request gave the P&R department more reason to finalize their plans for on-line reservations.  BTW, can anyone make a Little Free Library box for Optimist or at Max Luther rec center? We have the green light to make one at these sites.

Neighborhood Planning and Zoning  We asked again for a commitment to set a date for a series of meetings so that we can get more clarity on the needs for the area and the quality of life that we want. For example, what ifthere was a pop up seasonal shopping center next to Chapman Pool or a small village of Tiny Houses on High Mountain Road.  January is the goal now for the meetings.  Stay updated on nextdoor.com or subscribe to our blog.

Please call to ask about these items and please stay in touch to improve our community in one of the 5 S’s:

Safety, Security, Shelter, Schools, Sports and Smiles! 

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