August 03, 2015

C’ville Downtown Plan Touts ‘Urbanism’

C’ville Downtown Plan Touts ‘Urbanism’
Don Wade
Commercial Appeal
The draft of a long-term plan for the future of downtown Collierville is complete and draws from previous studies while also exploring some “new paths,” according to town chief planner Jaime Groce.
The plan emphasizes “rooftop initiatives” – adding residences for ownership and rental – and creating second and third story additions to buildings on the town square. The plans will be handed off today for review by a town steering committee.
The downtown Collierville Small Area Plan also charts some new paths, such as improving the distribution of green space, roadway connections and re-examining the length of town blocks.
“It’s our cultural heart,” Groce said of Town Square, “and the plan uses these terms.”
The plan also stresses that this is a long-term project.
“It took about 150 years to get to this point,” Groce said. “It’s going to take generations for this to come to fruition.”
The plan calls for the expansion of Town Square south of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and is committed to new urbanism, including making downtown even more pedestrian-friendly. Groce said the vision is to simultaneously create something that is both a “destination” and “vibrant neighborhood.”
The destination piece, he said, might include further incorporating Collierville’s Civil War heritage into the town’s story. But it’s also essential, he said, to bring more residents to the area to support businesses on the Town Square. 
“It’s important we do the things we need to do to protect the area,” said Mayor Stan Joyner. “It’s a picture-postcard.”
Alderman Maureen Fraser, an agent with John Green Realtors on the Square, makes downtown the first selling point with transplants searching for a new home.
“It’s a great place to start. It’s vibrant,” Fraser said, “and we have to keep it that way.”