Physical improvements to the downtown
and economic development programs could help create a more sustainable, year-round economy.
Residents, resorters, tourists, business owners, elected
and appointed officials and other stakeholders participated in the visioning process.
Conceptual recommendations for enhancing the City of Harbor Springs’ downtown area were recently presented to the Downtown Development Authority and the Planning Commission. The Downtown Vision Plan, being developed by Wade Trim with assistance from livingLab and Danna Widmar, seeks to define consensus goals that will provide a wide range of living, dining, recreation and employment opportunities for multiple generations in this Michigan waterfront community. Public participation in the plan’s development has been high; more than 500 community members contributed their ideas for improvements over a four-day visioning process that included focus group meetings and design workshops.
The final Downtown Vision Plan was presented to the City Council, DDA, Planning Commission and Harbor Commission on September 4, 2012. Key recommendations include strengthening the DDA, changing zoning and parking requirements, improving public spaces and better connecting the downtown and waterfront areas. When completed, the Plan will serve as a valuable guide for pursuing funding for implementation of the City’s downtown enhancement strategies.