CADILLAC — Underground power lines, public art murals and more greenery could potentially be seen popping up on the Mitchell Street corridor in the future.
This was revealed at an unveiling presentation by the Alliance for Economic Success at After 26 Depot Cafe Tuesday night.
The organization partnered with the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design and Construction to create final conceptual plans for Mitchell Street from Boon Road to the U.S. 131 interchange.
The creation of the illustrations has been a lengthy process, involving multiple brainstorming sessions with the community as well as the collection of feedback online.
AES Executive Director Lisa Leedy said by displaying the final renderings Tuesday the plan was to get people to write down what the priority projects should be. Then the organization will figure out how to make it happen.
For the next step, AES officials will go to planning commission meetings for Clam Lake and Haring townships and Cadillac, all the municipalities the Mitchell Street corridor goes through.
Officials are hoping the planning commissions can use the information as a tool to help them, Leedy said.
Wayne Beyea, an MSU faculty member who worked on the project, said the goal wasn’t to repurpose the entire corridor, but find common elements of things that could be done and applied as redevelopment happens.
“Now, after this presentation tonight, you’ll hopefully never look at Mitchell Street the same way again,” he told the audience gathered for the presentation.
Alexa Leedy, an AES administrative assistant, said some of the renderings had additional welcome signs for entering Cadillac and traffic lights hung from poles instead of wires.
She said people liked visible crosswalks, trees and foliage but worried about maintenance.
Lisa Leedy said walkability was a big deal in the feedback they received and there were a lot of comments about public art.
To implement all these ideas would take “years and years to finish,” and the underground power lines, another popular element, alone would cost millions of dollars, Alexa Leedy said.
Any implementation going forward will require a lot of cooperation between agencies. Nothing will pop up next week and there is still a lot of legwork to do to see what is feasible, Lisa Leedy said.
Cadillac City Manager Marcus Peccia said he had been following the project and has been to all of the brainstorming sessions. He was seeing things he liked at the presentation and things that could possibly come to the city if funding becomes available and if private property owners are willing to look at new designs like this.
He said all of the concepts required private and public cooperation and take money, time, resources and a sincere effort by the city and private property owners.
This exercise and study shows what could happen but doesn’t mean they need to start planning right now. It is a cool example of public and private collaboration and with the city and local townships, he said.
“It’s all about creating place,” Peccia said.