Why is the City creating this new Plaza space?
For several years, the City has been planning to reconfigure and improve the parking lot between the City Park and Elk Avenue. Additionally, the City has had the desire to try to create a new public gathering space in that area. The city is contributing funds to the project because of the economic development benefits it will create. The pavilion along with other planned projects will draw many more residents and visitors to the downtown, thus creating enhanced opportunities for local business.
How did the Plans take shape?
Fortunately, prior to reconstructing the parking lot, the City was selected to participate in a place planning study, and subsequently went through a very robust public process, which was facilitated by the Michigan Municipal League, the MSU School of Design, Planning, and Construction, and MSU-Extension, that resulted in the Cadillac Heritage Plaza PlacePlans Report. The Report is available on the City’s website (www.cadillac-mi.net), and it provided recommendations, based on public input, on how to create the Plaza at Cadillac Commons. Per the Report, the concept is to “transform a nondescript parking lot and park into a year-round downtown destination evoking all the historical charm and sophistication that make the city unique”. “The lakeside block would become a vibrant hub connecting downtown businesses and Lake Cadillac with seasonal events and attractive amenities, acting as a magnet to draw in visitors and residents alike”.
When will the new Plaza be constructed, and how long will it take?
Construction is anticipated to start in early spring 2016, and end by July 2016. It is anticipated that burial of utilities will take 2-weeks with the Plaza construction taking an additional 6-weeks. Unforeseen issues, such as poor weather conditions and material availability can delay the project.
Will the City Park be changing? Will Lake Street be closed?
No! The City Park will not be drastically changed or altered. Approximately 4-feet of the City Park area along the eastern border where it meets up to the existing parking lot will be utilized as it is tied into the new Cadillac Commons Plaza. Lake Street is not being closed, aside from when accommodating special events.
Are the antique Shay Locomotive and/or the Kris Eggle Memorial Fountain being relocated?
No! There are no plans at this time to relocate either the Kris Eggle Memorial Fountain or the Shay Locomotive to another park or area of the City.
Will parking be impacted?
Yes. Parking will become safer and more user-friendly. Motorists using the main lot area will no longer need to turn out into the local streets (Harris & Cass) to access the parking rows, and the parking spots will be wider and longer than the existing spots to make it easier to park and to get into and out of vehicles. Parking will also be reduced approximately 30% in the main lot area, and be increased approximately 30%, with new parking put in along Harris and Cass Streets, and adjacent (east) to the After 26 Depot Café/AMVETS building.
What are the primary amenities that are being planned for in the new Plaza, and where might they be located?
A splash pad, ice-rink, and fireplace, along with various seating areas (benches) are being designed to be in the new Plaza. The splash pad will likely include an ice-rink feature, and is being planned to be located, along with a fireplace on the further east end of the Plaza area. These amenities will enhance the Plaza, and create new attractions for the area. Additionally, by having the amenities grouped in the general eastern side of the Plaza, it will create the opportunity for a much larger gathering space in the Plaza, and even a larger gathering space when utilized in connection with the City Park.
I live in the City, will my taxes increase because of these improvements?
No! The city intends to solicit loans the city will pay back through multiple sources of revenue. The issuance of these bonds will not result in additional taxes or costs for residents because the money that will be used to pay back the loans already has been budgeted.
How are these projects being funded?
There is a variety of funding sources for the multiple improvements being made throughout the Cadillac Commons space.
How long have these plans been in the works?
All of the expenditures for the Pavilion and for other upcoming downtown projects are all part of a long term financial plan. These plans have been formulated with considerable public input over a period of a few years and have also been included in each annual city budget review process. The city considers these expenditures as investments in public infrastructure intended to maintain the quality of life our residents have indicated to us they wish us to pursue.
What planning has been done for the maintenance and upkeep within these new Commons spaces?
The Plaza project has been designed to minimize the need for maintenance. The project site prior to the project was comprised of hardscape materials such as concrete and asphalt. This has not changed. The hardscape materials in the project are the same but just more aesthetically pleasing due to color changes and the imprinted patterns on the plaza. The landscape areas in the project have been kept to a minimum and will all be irrigated so that there will not be a need for a manual watering process. Landscape islands within the parking lot are few so that snowplowing of the lot can be achieved more efficiently and economically. At present a number of downtown landscape areas off of Mitchell Street are maintained through volunteer gardening efforts. The city intends to see if the landscape areas
for this project can be maintained in similar fashion. The lighting for the project will be LED lighting which will reduce our electrical power consumption. The splash pad and the fireplace have been designed with controls so that water usage and gas usage can be tightly controlled. The fireplace will have pre-programmed times that the fireplace will be in use. All maintenance will be assigned to the same departments (Streets, Parks, and Downtown Development Authority) which are currently providing the maintenance for this area and will be performed using existing staff. All decorative elements such as bollards, street lights, and archways were selected with finishes that maximizes lifespan prior to needing to be refinished.