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Building A Downtown
HUDSONVILLE — A rare historical community with no identifiable downtown, the city of
The cornerstone of a $125,000 effort to rewrite the city's master plan is a conceptual Downtown Design Plan intended to mold
"The development the last several years around us has had an impact on our downtown," said Hudsonville Mayor Don VanDoeselaar. "We have an opportunity to do something that will hopefully stimulate a lot of interest. If we do nothing with our downtown, it's going to be very difficult for us to survive."
The RiverTown Crossings mall in Grandville and increased development along
"In the classical sense, there isn't a downtown," explained Paul Sachs, management and planning analyst for the Ottawa County Planning Department. "They've got their designated shopping district, but it's an assemblage of roads with no defined street pattern. The buildings don't align themselves to create your typical downtown street — the walk-ability currently isn't there."
According to Sachs, the community of Hudsonville is disjointed because of the Pere Marquette Railway and
The current effort hopes to unite the area located immediately south of
"One of the reasons we worked with Hudsonville is that to be able to work in an existing urban community with existing conditions to create a traditional downtown is pretty unique," Sachs said.
The initial draft met with some stiff resistance, primarily related to how infrastructure changes would affect traffic flow and individual businesses; the largest area of concern was where to locate a proposed town square.
"From a designer standpoint, the first thing we noticed as an area of concern was that there really was no gathering place or anything to bring the city together," said Rick Pulaski, senior project manager for Nederveld Associates. "We needed to create some kind of focal point. All the older cities in Ottawa County have something that they can call their downtown."
While to date conceptual, the downtown plan includes the Hudsonville Architectural Design Elements Portfolio and a proposal for a town square or village green that would be built on the current location of Crown Motors at
The final draft of the plan proposes building the village green, making streetscape improvements, and redeveloping several properties to an urban model, including the relocation of four buildings, Crown Motors among them.
"We hope that a lot of this will be market-driven," said Mayor VanDoeselaar. "Once the word seeps out through the