Visioning Project For Downtown Shelton

sheltonwaOn June 30, 2014 representatives of the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce presented a proposal to the Shelton of City Commissioners, to hire Forterra to organize a downtown "Visioning" project, which would create a ‘vision’ for the future of downtown. The plan was to gain buy-in from the city to help fund this $53,000 project.

The chamber proposed to fund (through local business pledges/donations) 1/3 of the cost, with Green Diamond providing matching funds, leaving the city to fund the final 1/3 of project costs. This proposal is a follow up on a meeting held previously (1/31/14) between the city and the chamber of commerce. The chamber's original commitment was to raise funds in the spring of 2014. At Monday’s City of Shelton Commission meeting (July 7, 2014) the Chamber did not attend, so the status of the chamber's fund raising efforts is unknown at this time.

At this meeting on Monday, without the chamber represented, City Administrator Dave O'Leary indicated this visioning process, if completed would be just in time for the next revision of the city's Comprehensive Plan, and could help address concerns for upcoming challenges downtown Shelton faces with the new commercial development in Shelton Hills.

There is concern with the visioning project being dependent on support from chamber members and downtown merchants. Commissioner Olsen reminded O'Leary of the SAVOR project, where the city spent $20,000 and the chamber failed to fund their portion of the project. What will make this different? O'Leary's response was the city does not contribute anything until funds (from the chamber and Green Diamond) for the visioning project are in place.

O'Leary also noted there are other considerations, in addition to the cash; the project will include months of work and actual technical considerations, which may include cost estimates, infrastructure improvements, tradeoffs on right-of-way decisions, and analysis of land use constraints or regulatory relief. The city's contribution would be overall project management.

The city commission agreed the visioning exercise was good and timely (to meet the updating of the city's comp plan). Commissioner Olsen wanted more, specifically "what is a walkability study"? And specifics as to who is contributing the funds; is it a handful of big businesses or is it embraced by the downtown merchants? Mayor Cronce thought the cost sharing was a plus and felt an "outside opinion" is needed.

The Commission agreed to have legal draw up a contract with the chamber to identify the actual cost, timeline and deliverables of the visioning project before any commitment.

JE KMAS News – July 15, 2014