NEIGHBORS SHARE BIG IDEAS FOR DOWNTOWN PLAN

At the GSNC neighborhood meeting on August 13th, over 70 residents and merchants in attendance divided into 9 work groups and addressed the following three topics, extracted from the Challenges and Opportunities Downtown Plan draft document:

  1. DowntownPlanLogoParks & Green Space
  2. West Street Re-imagined
  3. Retail Strategy

Parks & Green Space

Challenges: There are currently no public parks or green space in Glenwood South, with the nearest park requiring a walk of over 20 minutes for most residents.  Additionally, Glenwood South has zero publicly owned land, thus requiring the City to acquire land from private owners before it could be converted to green space.

Opportunities: There is a need to create potential new green spaces and better connections to nearby green spaces (such as Pigeon House Branch and future Devereux Meadows).

Neighborhood Priorities:

  • Mini parks (small areas for socializing)
  • Dog parks (walking dogs)
  • Playground (for kids)
  • Outside exercise space (use by the public / local gyms)

Locations for the above parks and green space are listed on this map.

Big ideas:

  • Build protected landscaped walking paths along the rail right of way that extends for a combined distance of over a mile on the east side of the neighborhood.
  • Build a skateboard park.
  • Additional parks & green space “Big Ideas” are listed in the section Re-imaging West Street.

Re-imagining West Street

Challenges: Walking connections to the other downtown districts are weak. In addition, the rail line creates a barrier between Glenwood South, the Capital District and Seaboard Station.  Glenwood Avenue is narrow, as well as being a route for vehicle through-traffic, together presenting a major challenge to developing a generous pedestrian realm.

Opportunities: There is a need to create better connections to nearby green spaces (such as Pigeon House Branch and future Devereux Meadows).

Neighborhood Priorities: As a parallel street to Glenwood Avenue, the opportunity exists for West Street to become an important pedestrian and bike corridor.  And although not mentioned in the draft, the Capital Blvd bridge replacement over Peace Street and its associated new street grid could be a catalyst to revive the area along the eastern side of West Street.

Big idea: Open up Pigeon House Branch Creek and create a linear park with the land currently set aside on the west side of West Street for the planned High Speed Rail Corridor.  The park could be created by working with the rail company to remove the (kudzu covered) earth berm associated with the elevated track section along West Street (Peace Street to Lane Street) and replacing it with modern rail platform supports.

Opening up the creek also creates the opportunity to create a small lake or pond in the area where the creek surfaces just east of the 510 Glenwood parking deck.

Additional Big ideas:

  • Expand entertainment options in downtown by adding a movie theater, small amphitheater for events and a water fountain within a redevelopment area located on this map.
  • Build an east-west  PRT transit link (or several pedestrian bridges) over Capital Blvd for residents to connect to the Capital District and Seaboard Station, and to allow government workers in the area convenient access to Glenwood South dining and shopping.
  • Create a northern greenway connection into downtown from Crabtree Creek that runs into Glenwood South along West Street.
  • Connect Glenwood South to the planned Devereux Park through a new pedestrian bridge over Peace Street.

Retail Strategy

Challenges: Retail amenities are limited, e.g. grocery store, service retail.  More daytime pedestrian visits are desired by district businesses.

Opportunities: A retail strategy is needed for adding neighborhood amenities.  Improved lighting is needed throughout the area, along with parking signage.

Neighborhood Priorities: Neighbors acknowledge the need for more shopping and service retail to complement the existing robust nighttime drinking and dining options. The following specific needs were identified in the “redevelopment area” identified on this map.

  • Grocery store / Deli
  • Service retail amenities
  • Parking facilities (with better signage)
  • Retail art studios

Big idea: Bring more workers / shoppers to the neighborhood through the use of financial incentives.  Incentives could be directed at the development of a 3-5 story office building, possibly located on the northwest side of the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Morgan Street.  Additionally, make it more financially feasible for property owners to sub-divide their current under-utilized space to offer more attractive rents to smaller start-up type businesses.

Other big ideas:

  • Extend the R-Line to Cameron Village (also possibly North Hills) to offer more retail options to the growing resident population.
  • Promote the Glenwood South neighborhood brand to visitors by placing highly visible archways or signage at the north and south entrances to the neighborhood.