07/19/06 — DGDC wants to hear thoughts about downtown

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DGDC wants to hear thoughts about downtown

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 19, 2006 1:49 PM

Next month, Goldsboro residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions regarding the future of downtown.

The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp., along with recently hired urban designer Allison Platt, will host two public forum sessions Aug. 8, on the second floor of the new City Hall. The meetings, which will begin at noon and 7 p.m. respectively, are expected to run between one and two hours.

DGDC executive director Julie Thompson said the forums are a chance for residents and other interested parties to provide input on the downtown Goldsboro master plan. Hearing from the community is paramount to the success of the project, she added.

Earlier this year, Mrs. Thompson said the City of Goldsboro Comprehensive Historic Neighborhood Revitalization Plan proposal aimed to identify and restore pockets of distress and decline within the city's historic district.

Then, in May, Goldsboro City Council took a step toward achieving that goal, as council members approved the hiring of Allison Platt and Associates to prepare the downtown master plan.

At a DGDC board meeting April 26, Mrs. Platt gave a presentation on ways to improve the downtown area and steps her firm would take to ensure the process began as quickly as possible.

Since the meeting, Mrs. Platt's tasks have involved creation of an urban design for the downtown area, data collection and completion of a market analysis. These items, once compiled as a report, will help her form the master plan -- an ideal look and flow for downtown.

Mrs. Platt's firm was among 30 originally recommended by the North Carolina Main Street program for the job, and then four that submitted proposals to the DGDC for review.

A selection team comprised of DGDC and staff, the city Planning Director and the city management team ultimately chose Mrs. Platt and recommended to the City Council that a contract be awarded to her firm.

Earlier this summer, Mrs. Thompson said Platt's hiring was a step in the right direction -- one that could lead to big changes downtown this decade.

"Allison has been a part of some tremendous projects like the one in New Bern," she said. "If you look at New Bern's downtown and where it was versus where it is now, you can begin to see what our downtown could be."

Mrs. Platt received her bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1970 and a master's in landscape architecture from Cornell University in the late 1980s. During her tenure as an urban designer, she has received numerous awards and been published several times.

In 1996, Mrs. Platt received the Distinguished Professional Planning Project Award for her master plan for the Hilton Village in Virginia. She has also worked on several successful projects in North Carolina, including an urban design plan for downtown New Bern and her waterfront plans in Elizabeth City and Belhaven.