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Friday, May 6, 2016

Visioning group meets to advance plans

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bringing downtown Monett back to its original beauty, as seen in the 1894 opening of the Newman's department store, above, and improving issues like signage, parking, and flood protection beyond the original limits are some of the goals pursued by the committee advancing the proposal made by the Drury University architecture students. [Photo provided by Roxie Scott]
The final report detailing the vision presented by the Drury University class for revitalizing downtown Monett has been presented to the city. Community and business leaders working to develop the vision broke into committees on Monday and started work on portions of the plan.

City Administrator Dennis Pyle, who is serving as coordinator for the city on the project, said other people will be available as resources. Architecture specialist Jeff Barber from the University of Missouri Extension Service will serve as the main person to help advance the students' ideas. The students themselves may be available to elaborate on their proposal if requested, Pyle said.

The final report from Drury's Center for Community Studies and Architecture Studies has been packaged into a 202-page spiral-bound book. Proposals are spelled out. Color photos of the town are paired with conceptual drawings, many of which had been previously presented at public meetings on display boards.

Among the striking illustrations are renderings of downtown blocks, showing how all the signage for businesses could be similarly positioned at the same height on all the structures. Drawings show how facades could be made similar, providing more uniformity to the storefronts.

All of the proposals, from adding trees and colored pavers to streets, improving signage, creating a downtown park and flood control, are detailed with artists' renditions of how streets could look under the proposal.

Appendices in the back of the book cite researchers and resources whose work was referenced in the construction of the Drury proposal. Pyle said the city can call upon the researchers as work moves forward.

The book can be reviewed over the internet at www.cityofmonett.com.

Previously, Pyle had asked committee members to indicate the areas where they would like to serve. At the Monday meeting, new volunteers joined the group, and those attending the meeting were divided into four subcommittees.

The subcommittee on streetscapes and facades elected Sharon Garrett as its chairperson. Members prioritized changing building facades as the place to begin discussions. How to rearrange parking was considered the last step in the reshaping process.

The city center park committee discussed the concept of the proposed downtown park, whose boundaries were listed as extending from the Centennial Overpass to Central Avenue. Members discussed how the park could be used and what would make it successful. Assembling a list of property owners and taking soil samples for future excavation were discussed.

The committee on flood control discussed what property had been suggested for flood retention and what other properties might be available as retention basins.

Pyle suggested the committee as a whole could meet again in two months, around mid-September. He encouraged the committees to plan their own meetings. Members were urged to study the Drury report as a starting point. It would be up to the committee to shape recommendations on which the city council could act.

Representatives from the committee planned to meet with the Monett Community Foundation in August to discuss financial help for the undertaking. Pyle urged committee members to focus on how to move forward on the vision rather than focusing on the cost.

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