City Council allocated $150,000 to begin Downtown Vibrancy implementation in fiscal year 2019. The EDA is in the process of making recommendations to City Council for the use of these funds. The recommendations are being pulled from the Downtown Vibrancy Study conducted in fiscal year 2018.
UPDATE: STAKEHOLDER & PUBLIC INPUT MEETINGS
City staff and project consultants would like to thank all those who attended the stakeholder and public input meetings. The information gathered at these meetings will be helpful in planning our next steps.
PRELIMINARY MEETING ON DOWNTOWN VIBRANCY PLAN
The consultant team presented its initial findings at a joint public meeting with the City of Williamsburg's City Council, Planning Commission and Economic Development Authority. Catherine Timko presented an overview of the local market and market demand and supply for different business sectors. Bob Melvin and Sara Woolf presented preliminary urban design and placemaking strategies to draw pedestrian traffic and activate the downtown area.
For a copy of Ms. Timko's presentation, click here.
For a copy of Mr. Melvin and Ms. Woolf's presentation, click here.
The Williamsburg Economic Development and Planning & Codes Compliance departments are developing a sustainable downtown marketing and design strategy.
- The objective is to strengthen downtown’s appeal by creating a vibrant environment and developing a sustainable implementation strategy to help generate momentum and to help the City and investors to make better decisions, manage risk, and improve the prospects for success.
- The strategy is intended to enhance visitation and patronage of the downtown, create a brand identity for the downtown, and build a sense of pride and project ownership within the community (residents and businesses) for ongoing management and implementation.
Local stakeholders and the community are a part of the process of developing the market strategy. Community and stakeholder input is being gathered from:
- Local and regional residents
- Colonial Williamsburg visitors and staff
- William & Mary community (administration and students)
- Downtown Williamsburg businesses and residents
- City and public leadership (elected officials, the city administration, relevant city departments and regional organizations including tourism officials)
The project team will be gathering information on the physical conditions of Downtown Williamsburg, including existing public spaces, infrastructure, architectural character, and streetscape elements over the next several weeks. They will also be completing a retail market & merchandise analysis. The information from both these exercises will be used to inform the strategy and identify opportunities to strengthen and even diversify the retail and entertainment offerings within in the city.
THE PROJECT TEAM
The City of Williamsburg has retained a consulting team to undertake the Downtown Vibrancy, Design & Marketing Plan for the City of Williamsburg. The team comprised of Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) and Group Melvin Design brings significant experience and expertise in downtown development planning, retail marketing and branding and urban planning and design.
To reinforce the downtown’s sense of place and support growth, the plan will build upon its unique historic, natural and cultural assets.
Andrew O. Trivette, Assistant City Manager
Michele Mixner DeWitt, Director
Department of Economic Development
Carolyn Murphy, Director
Department of Planning & Codes Compliance
Catherine Timko, co-project manager
Robert Melvin, co-project manager