Collett outlines goals for revitalization of downtown for MainStreet Cleveland

By TONY EUBANK Banner Staff Writer
Posted 4/11/15

A program detailing possible plans for a park and Greenway extension to the old Hardwick Woolen Mill, as well as ideas on how to revitalize Inman Street, were presented during a March MainStreet …

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Collett outlines goals for revitalization of downtown for MainStreet Cleveland

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A program detailing possible plans for a park and Greenway extension to the old Hardwick Woolen Mill, as well as ideas on how to revitalize Inman Street, were presented during a March MainStreet Cleveland webinar.

The live streaming presentation was led by University of Tennessee assistant professor Brad Collett of the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture Program.

The meeting was designed to gather feedback to help select and develop design ideas for Inman Street based upon the 2004 Downtown Master Plan, which was developed by UTK architecture students under the tutelage of Collett as part of a service-learning project through the Smart Communities Initiative and the Environmental Design Lab.

Three skeletal plans for the extension of the Greenway along Woolen Mill Branch and plans for a revitalizing streetscape of Inman Street were presented. Local business owners, elected officials and property owners selected one of the plans as the framework for a final design.

The selected idea, Plan B, is now in the hands of the UTK architecture department, so it can be crafted into a more specific plan before being presented to MainStreet Cleveland members again.

Collett talked with the Banner about the goals of the project and the possible means to which they could be met.

Collet explained the city of Cleveland has articulated an interest in studying opportunities to extend the Greenway from Willow Street up into the Blythe neighborhood, as well as picking up work on the streetscaping of Inman Street.

The streetscaping project, which was initially begun as a study by some UTK civil engineering students, determined that with some strategic traffic diversion Inman Street could be narrowed into one lane going in both directions with a middle turn lane to transform it into more of a destination rather than a busy through street.

“Our students have been studying how reduced amounts of traffic could allow for a stronger level of attention to providing pedestrian accessibility with sidewalks and potential on street parking, landscaping improvements that could serve as traffic combing measures that would further slow the speed of traffic, making it a safer place for pedestrians and thus making Inman work as a main street on many levels,” said Collett.

Collet explained as a result of the narrowing of that now busy through street, the traffic would likely shift to Central Avenue and Third Street.

Collett discussed the possibility of an urban stream that would run along the Greenway.

“The Woolen Mill Branch of Mouse Creek would be considered what is called an urban stream, in the sense that it’s moving through engineered channels, so it’s not a natural stream bed,” Collet explained.

“It’s moving through concrete culverts, under buildings, underneath roads and as a result it’s reducing the capacity of the stream to move water through the area in rain events. So we’re actually looking at the Greenway as what we would consider a multi-functional performance landscape. In that not only is it providing a pathway for people to move along an extended greenway, but also serve as a storm water management and flood mitigation infrastructure,” Collett said.

“With the strategic relocation of businesses and the taking of some abandoned properties, there could be a real potential to increase the presence of the stream and provide an amenity for the city in that area by extending the lifestyle benefit of the Greenway,” Collett said.

Collett explained his team is now looking at the plan the city and MainStreet members selected in order to develop a detailed designs.

“We’ll have a detailed plan for the Greenway corridor as it moves through that neighborhood, with illustrative drawings, sections and perspectives that will show the experiential and performative qualities of the landscape.”

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