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Local

Building a better Morris

City seeks public input on enhancement plan for downtown

The city of Morris is turning to the public for input on the effort to enhance the downtown experience for visitors.

In August, the city council approved an agreement with Teska Associates to develop a master plan for downtown Morris. The plan will be incorporated into the city’s existing comprehensive plan as its own chapter and will identify ways to upgrade and benefit downtown via streetscape changes, development opportunities, promotion, design, and planning and implementation strategies. The plan will also focus on incorporating tourism and the linkage to the I&M Canal Corridor.

Teska vice president Michael Hoffman said input from the public is a key component to the planning process.

“We’ve got a survey that you can fill out about all kinds of issues,” Hoffman said. “There are places where you can put comments on there. But, we really are trying to get public input and a focus group with some of the retailers and restaurateurs. We really want to get input from as many people as possible.”

The overall process is broken into several components, starting with the assessment of downtown currently and needs for the future. That is where the survey comes into place.

Survey results will be used to develop strategies to enhance downtown Morris’ economic vitality.

The survey seeks opinions on the pros and cons of the downtown commercial district currently, and what types of eateries, including coffee shops, restaurants and bars, would make residents want to visit more often or for longer periods of time.

The survey also asks specific questions on specialty stores, overall downtown appearance, traffic conditions, safety and amenities that the public would like to see added.

The survey also includes basic demographic questions. Those who are not residents of Morris are also invited to participate in the survey, which takes 10 to 12 minutes to complete.

Following the survey and assessment, Teska will work on redevelopment and design solutions, and the a review process for the downtown master plan will take place. The city council will adopt the plan once complete, with the goal to have a draft plan in place by summer 2020.

The project is being led by the city of Morris, with support from the Morris Downtown Development Partnership and the Morris Retail Association.

A public open house will be planned before the plan’s final adoption.

The survey can be found online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/Downtown_Morris_Survey.

A link to the survey also is available through the Enhance Downtown Morris website, at EnhanceDowntownMorris.com.

While the survey is confidential, there is an option to add your name and email for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce good for purchases at downtown Morris businesses.

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