As the city of Montgomery grows, so does the need for a comprehensive city plan. And with the help of a partnership with Texas A&M University, city officials said they hope to create a better plan for Montgomery.
Assistant to the City Administrator Dave McCorquodale said the city became part of the Texas Target Communities program with Texas A&M on Aug. 28. Landscape architecture students who were part of the semesterlong project presented their conceptual designs for specific issues Montgomery faces at a presentation Dec. 4. For Montgomery, those issues were downtown revitalization, historic preservation and tourism, ecological connectivity, walkability, and active living and new residential typologies.
“It was very comprehensive in the way they were able to look at our town from the outside and be able to gather this information in a you know very thorough way,” McCorquodale said.
McCorquodale said the city is developing a comprehensive plan with Texas A&M's Sea Grant, so collaborating with the Texas Target Communities program was a natural extension of that partnership. McCorquodale said the city expects to present its master plan in February.
Jeewasmi Thapa, the program coordinator for Texas Target Communities, said in an email the students examine various data points to develop the best designs for the city, including history, points of interest, socioeconomics and community feedback.
“Students have taken into consideration a lot of unique aspects, such as the unique history and historic sites, the great ecological resources and access to forests/water, the high through traffic volume on 105 and Liberty St, the continued increase of population and development potential, the available land, the potential to enhance walkability and community health,” Thapa said.
Thapa said the program was formed in the 1980s and is meant to provide service with land-use planning and design to smaller Texan communities. She said the process can help communities develop creative solutions to their own needs.
“This can act as a catalyst to bring the community together and build excitement,” Thapa said. “These designs can also assist in grant applications.”
McCorquodale said the Montgomery Economic Development Corp. will now take the designs and consider which they like. The partnership cost the city $15,393, though McCorquodale said a professional design partnership would cost between $50,000 to $75,000. Although the designs are not blueprints that could be immediately constructed, McCorquodale said creating the concepts is a vital step in planning for Montgomery’s growth.
“You don’t know where you are if you don’t start. The purpose of the Texas Target Communities work is to give us that starting point at a very, very economical rate,” McCorquodale said.