'Cool Cities' Plans Similar, Sometimes Bold
Wayne State University
The "Cool Cities" presentation at Bella Notte Ristorante on Saturday provided interesting pictures of downtown Jackson's possible future straight from the urban planning departments of seven college campuses.
The presentations culminated a competition organized by the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce to infuse fresh ideas into development planning for downtown over the next five to 15 years. At stake was a $25,000 prize, put up by private donors, for the plan judged the best footprint for Jackson -- won by Wayne State University.
The presentations also shed insight into the contemporary trends permeating college campuses these days with the terms "pedestrian corridors," "green spaces" scattered in great abundance in nearly every proposal.
While a couple proposals advocated demolition of the old utility building to make way for -- that's right -- "green spaces," most seemed to favor preserving the building as well as the hotel for "mixed use," a term used to designate a combination of retail and residential housing.
Some of the plans called for the creation of new condos and townhouses downtown, sometimes numbering in the hundreds. Nearly all presenters favored conversion of the Hayes Hotel into housing and retail use.
Wayne State planners called for combing the Hayes with Consumers to construct what they called "The Rose City Plaza," a residential and retail shopping complex. Wayne State also proposed adding hundreds of housing units along the northern and southern sections of Blackstone Street including the "Eco Park" complex, which would include, yes, green spaces, a nature center and a pond where storm sewer runoff could be naturally treated.
Former Jackson Planning Commission member Charles Aymond said maybe not all projects were feasible but the biggest value of the competition was the influx of new ideas.
While Wayne State walked away with the prize, Jackson Mayor Martin Griffin said all the proposals were valuable.
Chamber President Susan Milhoan said judges didn't specify any single reason for choice and that there was something to like about all the plans.
"I think it's all very interesting and some of it is even realistic, which is good," Griffin said. "We'll probably pick bits and pieces from each one and move on from there."
Related Link: WSU Students Win Cool Cities Design Competition
For more information contact:
Wayne State University
5143 Cass Ave.
Posted May 17, 2005
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