“The main part of the vision is to create a downtown that’s both consistent with our history but also make it modern and accessible for the way that people live today,” said Rebecca Huss, Montgomery Economic Development Corp. president, in an interview.
Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman said the goal of the plan is to improve parking and pedestrian mobility. She said the plan would not change the facades of the downtown historic district buildings but would provide a facelift and create uniformity.
“[Downtown] is charming, but it can be dangerous,” Countryman said in an interview. “We want you to have a pleasant experience and have it easier to be mobile.”
Some of the improvements include adding sidewalks, street trees, decorative light poles and large Texas flags to Hwy. 105, according to the plan presented to council.
The intersection of Hwy. 105 and Liberty Street would include left- and right-turn lanes and a themed pavement pattern.
Additionally, the intersection of FM 149 at Clepper Drive would be reconstructed to include a roundabout. Other improvements in the plan include adding outdoor dining and shaded seating in downtown; constructing curbs, bike trails and sidewalks along Clepper Drive; and acquiring the Virginia Adams lot off Liberty Street and turning it into a park with a landmark.
“It’s an investment into our future,” Huss said.
Developing adequate parking is a key area in the plan, Countryman said. The plan includes creating off-street and on-street parking accessible through secondary streets, eliminating on-street parking on Liberty Street and creating 15-minute parking spaces.
Countryman said the city plans to fund the projects through various grants, the city’s savings account for infrastructure improvements and contributions from the Montgomery EDC. She said calling a bond to fund the improvements is possible, but using taxpayer dollars is a “last resort” for the city.
“I want to take as much off of residents and taxpayers as possible by way of us being fiscally responsible and by way of us getting grants,” Countryman said.
Even though the comprehensive plan has been approved, individual projects will still need to be brought before council for approval. Huss said the first project the city plans to address is improvements to Clepper Drive, including the construction of a sidewalk.