CADILLAC — Get ready to glimpse into the future of Cadillac.
At least that's what planners hope they will be unveiling in August, when they present their final conceptual plans for Mitchell Street from Boon Road to the U.S. 131 interchange.
Officials with the Alliance for Economic Success partnered with the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design and Construction to create the images.
Creation of the illustrations has been a lengthy process, involving multiple brainstorming sessions with the community, as well as the collection of feedback online.
The first session, held in August 2018, asked attendees three questions: What are you proud of about the project site and immediate area? What are you sorry about for the project site and immediate area? And what would you like to see as you float over the site in a hot air balloon 15 years from now?
Dangerous, chaotic, unorganized, fragmented, crowd-less and busy were all words used to describe the current state of the Mitchell Street corridor.
Sophisticated, inviting, thriving and robust were words used to describe how the corridor could be in the future.
Following the initial brainstorming session, preliminary conceptual drawings were displayed for community stakeholders, business owners, municipal officials and journalists at the Evergreen Resort in February.
AES Executive Director Lisa Leedy said the feedback collected at that time revolved around the future walkability improvement potential and suggestions for amenities, signage and future design standards.
Leedy said there were numerous themes they picked up on as important to many of the people who provided feedback on the illustrations.
In no particular order, people said they liked the idea of underground electrical lines rather than overhead, consistent signage (same theme, height, color, etc.), streamlined streetscapes, and a more "friendly" atmosphere in gaps between buildings.
For the third session in August, the team will present their final vision for the corridor and discuss fine-tuning.
In the fourth and final session, which has not yet been scheduled, they will discuss how to implement the vision they've developed.
Paying for the plan has been a recurring question during the entire process, Leedy said.
Although it's too early to say exactly how it will be done, Leedy said it's possible the plan could be paid for in a variety of ways, including through the routine capital improvement planning stages of the participating municipalities, which include the city of Cadillac and Haring Township.
"We'll try to figure out what pieces go best with whom," Leedy said.
The conceptual drawings will be unveiled at the After 26 Depot Cafe on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 7 p.m.
The presentation is open to the public and there will be appetizers.