If you haven’t heard the buzz in the blogosphere about the upcoming downtown planning meeting, you must have had your head in a bucket.

I haven’t written anything about it because I was immersed in work and in researching my most recent “good ideas “post. Plus, others have been doing such an amazing job reporting on this important upcoming event, that I haven’t felt the need.

But for those few left who aren’t aware of what’s going on, here’s the basics, excerpted from the city’s Department of Community Development page:

Downtown Master Plan

The City of Richmond and Venture Richmond are pleased to announce the start up of the 2007 Downtown Master Plan update process. In order for this plan to reflect a shared community vision, participation from citizens like you is vital. All community members who wish to participate – residents, business owners, non-profits, government officials – are encouraged to attend presentations, design sessions, and the open design studio. Each day’s progress will be displayed in the design studio so that people will immediately see their ideas and vision taking shape….

This is a unique opportunity for you to give input and have a positive impact on Downtown Richmond. We look forward to seeing you there!

Charrette Schedule

Friday, July 20 – Kick-off Presentation

Location: Plant Zero (Hull Street & E. 3rd Street)

Time: 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Event Description: At the start of the charrette week, a “food for thought” presentation will be given to educate the public on best practices in downtown urban planning.

Saturday, July 21 – Hands-on Design Session

Location: Plant Zero (Hull Street & E. 3rd Street)

Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Event Description: At this design session, we will work in small groups sharing ideas and thoughts on the future of Downtown.

Sunday – Thursday, July 22 – 26 – Open Design Studio

Location: The Commons @ Plant Zero (220 Hull Street)

Time: Sunday 1:00 pm – 7:00pm; Monday – Wednesday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm; Thursday 9:00am – 12:00pm

Event Description: The design team will work on-site creating the plan. We invite the community to stop by and offer continual input and monitor the work-in-progress.

Thursday, July 26 – Work-in-Progress Presentation

Location: Plant Zero (Hull Street & E. 3rd Street)

Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm

Event Description: At the end of the charrette week, the design team will present the work-in progress to the community.

Please click on map for the boundaries of the 2007 Downtown Master Plan.

For more information contact Brooke Hardin, City of Richmond
Telephone: (804) 646-6310
E-mail: brooke.hardin@richmondgov.com

I’ve been plugging the need for more community input in development and planning since I started this blog – so I’m excited that this forum for public participation has been created. I’m skeptical that they’ll get participation from a wide cross-section of the city, as the publicity efforts have been lackluster, at least until some fabulous bloggers got involved.  And I’m also unsure of whether these public efforts will actually change our city, but at least it’s a start.

If you haven’t already, head over to Buttermilk & Molasses and read John Sarvay’s excellent posts about it.

Unfortunately this event coincides with my previously planned vacation, which I’m not going to change. But I’m looking forward to hearing reports from all of you who attend.