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Nationally-known Urban Strategist to Collaborate with Pontiac Community at Historic Community Planning Workshop June 11 - 13

Public Date: 6/4/2012 12:00 AM
Contact: Steve Huber, Marketing & Communications Officer Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs
Phone Number: 248-858-1848

Waterford, Michigan -- One of the foremost urban planners in the country is coming to Pontiac to work with the community planning workshop scheduled for June 11 - 13. Tom Jost, senior urban strategist for Parsons Brinckerhoff, brings more than 20 years of experience solving challenges faced by cities adapting to changing environments and economies.

The public is invited to a community open house workshop to plan Pontiac's future on Tuesday, June 12 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Bowen Senior Center, 52 Bagley Street, in Pontiac. Residents, business owners, local agencies, government officials, developers and others are encouraged to attend.

The open house is part of a three-day planning workshop for the Downtown Pontiac Transportation Assessment. The purpose of this 18-month-long study is to find the best ways to connect downtown and neighborhoods by readapting the Woodward Loop, which surrounds Downtown Pontiac, and improving the street, sidewalk and bike path system. It's hoped that improving this network will improve livability and the long term economic health of the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

This effort includes Pontiac residents and businesses, the City of Pontiac, Oakland County, the Michigan Department of Transportation and planning consultants from Parsons Brinckerhoff Michigan.

Jost, who is based in New York City, has tackled urban design challenges in cities as diverse as Mumbai, India and Mexico City, Mexico.  Here in the States, he led the design team that helped create the world-famous High Line, which set a new standard for open space and created a mecca for living, working and playing in the heart of New York City’s Meatpacking District.

'The issues, ideas and dreams of the people who will be living, working and playing in these spaces will help us to shape a place that the community will call their own," said Jost. "The role of the community is first and foremost. We look forward to working in Pontiac and collaborating with the community to develop an actionable plan for change. Public participation is vital to the success of the project."

Those attending will review and comment on newly developed alternative designs for readapting the Woodward Loop and improving the city's street, sidewalk and bike path system to make it safer and more user-friendly for cars, bikes and pedestrians. The alternative designs were generated by project planners based on research and on ideas from the more than 100 people who attended the first community open house workshop on March 17 at the Crofoot Ballroom.

In addition to reviewing the designs, participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with project planners to craft real-time renderings and designs that will help to shape a plan for connecting downtown Pontiac and the neighborhoods and communities surrounding it.

Oakland County Planning & Economic Development Services, in partnership with the City of Pontiac, was awarded a $300,000 federal grant for this project. Oakland County is providing a $104,000 in-kind match through staff time devoted to the project.

For more information on the project, visit the project website at www.pontiaclivability.org or contact Oakland County Planning & Economic Development at 248-858-5445.

Planning Workshop Schedule
All events will be held at the Bowen Senior Center, 52 Bagley Street, Pontiac and are open to the public.

Monday, June 11
9 a.m. - noon: Planners will set up at the Bowen Senior Center
1 p.m. - 7 p.m.: Small group stakeholder meetings

Tuesday, June 12
9 a.m. - 10 a.m.: Planners will set up at the Bowen Senior Center
10 a.m. - noon: Stakeholder meeting with the Bowen Center Golden Opportunity Club
4 p.m. - 8 p.m.: Community Open House Workshop

Wednesday, June 13
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Planners will complete designs and other documents based on public input
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.: Public invited to see complete designs and other workshop results

Late June Through Mid - July
Designs and other results from the workshop will be on display at Pontiac City Hall and other locations throughout the city and on line at www.pontiaclivability.org

About Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs
The Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs is committed to promoting economic vitality, supporting distinct communities and conserving environmental resources through knowledge, cooperation and consultation services. For additional information, visit AdvantageOakland.com.