From Reconstruction to a New Vision
When reports of the condition of the former railroad tunnel under the Hanover Street Pedestrian Mall were released last fall, the City Administration saw an opportunity. Rather than simply spend millions to reconstruct the tunnel, the City will, for the first time in nearly 50 years, take a comprehensive look at how downtown Lebanon looks, feels, and functions.
Downtown Investment - Groups Involved
The City is preparing to undertake a Downtown Lebanon Visioning Study and Tunnel Project. The overarching goal of the project is to identify a long-range, multi-faceted vision of how to make downtown Lebanon a desirable destination for the region. The City is currently negotiating with a consulting team to help us "identify and assess, through citizen engagement and professional analysis, the range of alternatives and feasibility for revisioning the downtown to enhance the physical appearance and functionality of the area." Once the consulting team has been retained, they will commence a broad-based public involvement plan to facilitate stakeholder participation.
The outreach plan is expected to include multiple public meetings and presentations, as well as online surveys through the City's website and social media outlets, and other public appearances (such as the Farmer's Market) to make it as easy as possible for anyone and everyone to provide ideas and input about how Downtown Lebanon should look, feel, and function. A project-specific webpage will be created on the City's website as an easy-to-find reference point for project schedules, surveys, resources, and other information about the on-going Visioning Study.
Based on a robust public involvement plan, the consulting team will prepare multiple land use and urban design framework and tunnel treatment alternatives for comment and analysis. Ultimately, the consultant will help identify and present the preferred vision and strategies, based on citizen input and consensus, for recommended near-term and long-term modifications. The vision and strategies will include estimated timetables and sequencing for such modifications as well as recommendations for appropriate financing mechanisms to achieve the elements of the plan.
Among the topics that will be reviewed during this publicly-driven process are:
- Character and urban design
- Connectivity to river, greenway, and
- Desired business and land use mix
- Downtown events and activities
- Functionality and efficiency
- Marketing / branding
- Multi-modal transportation issues
- Parking and parking management
- Preservation of historic resources
- Public art / fountains
- Vehicular traffic flow
- Walkability and pedestrian environment
- Wayfinding and gateways
The project will also include an in-depth assessment of the current condition and immediate structural needs of the tunnel beneath the pedestrian mall and parking area. If appropriate, the consultant will prepare specific designs and construction timetables for restoring the structural integrity of the tunnel to permit the reconnection of vehicular circulation and parking above the tunnel.