TROY — More than 100 people gathered for the final presentation from MKSK Studios’ vision to revitalize the downtown Troy area and attract more visitors.
On Monday at the Bravo Room at Hobart Arena, president of Troy Main Street Ben Redick explained how the MKSK study came to fruition through the America’s Best Community contest, in which Troy was a semi-finalist. Huntington, W. Va., was later announced as the $3 million winner in 2015.
Members of the community on the various steering committees chose to continue its initiatives to build on the ideas presented during the competition. Private and public entities formed a group called “Activate Troy” and helped pay for the MKSK group to do a year-long study centered around the downtown area to revamp the area with new programs and projects through a 10-year period.
“This is a study, it’s not a comprehensive development plan. These are ideas on paper, some of them may happen in our community, some of them may not. Some of them will provoke thought of other initiatives that may come out from it,” Redick said.
Activate Troy has a new website at www.activatetroy.com. According to the website, Activate Troy “is a public-private partnership formed to study and coordinate key community efforts impacting quality of life for all Troy residents.” Stakeholders were listed as Troy Main Street, Troy Development Council, Troy Chamber of Commerce, Troy Community Works, Troy Foundation, The Paul G. Duke Foundation, the city of Troy and private investors.
The 90-page plan is available online at troymainstreet.org.
MKSK representative Joe Nickols said the study, which included public participation, found that Troy “lacks a trendy downtown vibe, has confused parking, lacks a riverfront connection, and east of the CSX rail line there’s a perception of crime and run down condition of industrial buildings along the riverfront.”
Strengths including the Miami County Courthouse which “serves as an iconic symbol, the Public Square, comprehensive parks system, Hobart Arena, and the riverfront area.”
The study highlighted four primary areas of opportunity including better use of and connection to Treasure Island, the redevelopment of ITW, waterfront development along Water Street, and redevelopment of industrial buildings on East Water Street.
Ideas were presented to develop land at Market and Canal Street, address parking concerns and form better connections to the river and trail systems.
Nickols listed group objectives for Troy such as “Tell Our Story Better” to emphasize Troy’s river, industrial heritage, local farming and food, recreation opportunities and historic neighborhoods.
Other objectives included increase jobs and residents downtown, strengthen the bike and recreation connections to downtown, and leverage parking as a downtown economic development tool.
Ideas also including creating an “Arts Walk” on the east side of Market Street along Clay Street, Water Street Heritage Trail and the “Troy Truck Yard” as a gathering place with picnic tables and outdoor vibe.
The study suggests the city of Troy and partners should “perform a regulatory review of current policies and ordinances to identify barriers, implement high priority parking recommendations from the Downtown Park Study, review and expand development financing programs, and expand its partnership with incoming Kettering Health Network and acquire and stabilize key properties and buildings in the next two years.
Other ideas for the two to five year range, include a proposed “River District” with new mixed use development on the levee behind Troy Memorial Stadium’s visitors side to build condos and other housing, consider a condo rental program for downtown Troy, start up a “artist-in-residency” using Hobart’s welding heritage and to attract people to the east Water Street riverfront area and adding street modifications.
The study presented several downtown Troy objectives during its presentation: re-branding and tourism, increase amenities, housing and employment downtown, tout the bike trail and improve its connectivity, leverage parking and update (zoning) regulations.
The study cost $142,550. The Troy Foundation donated $17,500, the city of Troy paid $25,000 and other partners contributed to the cost of the plan.
MKSK is a Columbus-based firm specializing in landscape architecture, planning and urban design. The firm is currently studying the Sherwood area by the city of Troy at a cost of $45,000.