Laberge Group, in partnership with Synthesis LLP, was commissioned by the Town to develop a Town Center Strategic Plan for the hamlet of Big Flats. The purpose of the plan was to formulate a vision for the revitalization of the Town Center in order to capitalize on the area’s unique assets, such as its intimate pedestrian friendly setting, and linkages to the local and regional transportation network to encourage sustainable mixed use development.
Research and field surveys provided documentation for the physical conditions of the existing transportation system while gathering demographic statistics and market research provided the background for a socio-economic analysis of the area. A detailed look at the existing land use and zoning in the target area, as well as the physical conditions of public infrastructure, housing, community facilities and other key buildings also provided the community with a comprehensive understanding of the Town Center needs.
An important aspect of the planning process was the public outreach process which included open Advisory Committee meetings, stakeholder interviews, and a public design charrette. The charrette process included a public tour of the target area to examine different aspects of the Town Center. Following the tour, participants were encouraged to discuss their observations and brainstorm about what improvements should be made to the Town Center. The results of the public process lead to the development of a Conceptual Development Plan that focused on the following:
- Encouraging optimal reuse and redevelopment of vacant sites and underutilized buildings in the target area.
- Enhancing the image by improving the public realm and establishing visually appealing gateways.
- Creating physical links between community facilities, parks, and businesses to encourage pedestrian activity.
- Diversifying the retail and residential mix to appeal to visitors and residents alike and encourage a business-friendly environment.
- Addressing traffic issues by reconfiguring certain intersections, building new thru street connections and installing sidewalks, trails, crosswalks, and curbing.