The first public presentation on the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) initiative will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Monett Chamber of Commerce's community room. According to Patrick Hanlon, project manager from the engineering firm of Peckham Guyton Albers and Viets (PGVA), the presentation will focus on options for Monett's downtown and seek input from those attending.
"Our expertise is in urban consulting, architecture and destination assessment," Hanlon said about the PGVA team in the DREAM effort. "We subcontract storm water issues to Bartlett and West, which has offices in Springfield, Jefferson City and Kansas City. For marketing we subcontract with the world renowned firm Fleishman-Hillard."
Tuesday's meeting will focus on the look of the downtown. Hanlon plans to show generic illustrations of what happens to a building and how it changes over the decades. He said the process is "pretty universal," no matter what town is involved.
The presentation will focus on the characteristics and attributes that make Monett unique. Two architects will accompany Hanlon for the discussion.
"This definitely will be along the lines of us showing illustrations and asking, 'Do you like this or not?'" Hanlon said. "We know what other towns look like. Do you want to go with a strict preservation approach, like some towns that are very historically oriented, or something more modern, or a mix? You understand what your heritage is. We need to hear what the experts on Monett want."
One advantage Hanlon saw in looking over Monett's downtown is a generally consistent look, as many of the buildings were erected at the same time. The general appearance opens the option for recreating a period look.
"We wanted to get design guidelines started," Hanlon said. "On Wednesday we plan to meet with building owners who are considering facade work and assist them on design improvements."
Another advantage Hanlon saw in Monett's present look is the large metal slip covers placed over the buildings between Third and Fourth streets.
"In other communities where we've worked, we've see when the covers are removed, they have protected the buildings," Hanlon said. "Removing them could be our most immediate near term victory. We'll do than first, tackle and harder stuff later. We're going to hit the ground running."
One of the more difficult issues will be flooding. Hanlon looked with interest at the area of flooding downtown.
"It's fine to remove a building that's dilapidated," Hanlon said. "You can do a pocket park. There's a limit to the amount of buildings that you'd want to take down. We're going to look at that further."
After next week's meeting, Hanlon said the DREAM effort would shift to revising and negotiating the scope of services for the project. A draft copy of a contract will be delivered to city officials by the end of next week. During the second week in January, the DREAM coordinators and city officials will meet in Jefferson City to go over the contract line by line.
Subsequent work will entail a survey of land use, the buildings and infrastructure downtown. DREAM coordinators will begin meetings with focus groups to get a sense of perceptions and desires for the downtown. Hanlon said about six focus groups would be organized to get input from specific groups, such as property owners, downtown area residents, merchant stakeholders in the project, large employers and public entities. A survey will follow for the entire community on the internet, all of which will be done in the next six months. Other work will begin by mid-summer.
The process all begins with next week's meeting. Hanlon urged everyone interested in the future of the downtown to attend.
"We want people to bring their ideas and be open to what we're asking them to provide input on," Hanlon added.