Revitalizing downtown Gaylord. That concept has been discussed for several years but now preliminary steps are being taken to make a new and improved downtown become a reality.
Redeveloping Gaylord’s downtown was one of the suggestions made by the Minnesota Design Team. A volunteer group of professionals, the Minnesota Design Team spent a weekend in Gaylord last September. That visit was capped by a town meeting in which the design team listed things it thought would help Gaylord thrive in the future.
It’s clear that rejuvenating the downtown is a necessary thing, according to the design team presenters. A strong foundation of buildings is in place but there are a “few teeth missing,” one team member explained.
Encouraging local entrepreneurs, retaining current businesses and seeking out new businesses were other things emphasized by the design team. It was also suggested that the City develop design guidelines and standards for downtown buildings. Creating unified and transparent facades throughout the downtown was also suggested. Making the downtown more pedestrian friendly would also benefit the City, according to design team members.
Initial plans are to make improvements to the downtown in conjunction with a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) project scheduled for 2014. That project will include street reconstruction through Main Avenue and on Highway 22 (south from the railroad tracks to the north edge of Gaylord).
An informational meeting to discuss the MnDOT project and downtown redevelopment is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8th at the Gaylord Library (7:00 p.m.).
The meeting will include a presentation from engineer Justin Black of Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH). Black will report on MnDOT project.
There will also be a presentation from Troy Domine, a consultant from Region 9. Domine was once involved in a Main Street program for the City of Montgomery.
A third presenter, Brian Ross, will discuss specific ways to upgrade the downtown, such as building design improvements. Ross is from Hometown Minnesota, a group established after the State stopped funding the Main Street program.
Business and property owners in downtown Gaylord are encouraged to attend next week’s meeting. Anyone interested in helping with the redevelopment of the downtown is also welcome to attend the meeting.
A downtown redevelopment task force will eventually be created. This group will help guide a redevelopment project. There will also be discussion at next week’s meeting about establishing a downtown business organization.