Englewood mayor hopes public hearing will help guide city’s master plan

26 June 2012 63 views No Comment

Englewood mayor hopes public hearing will help guide city’s master plan

MONDAY JUNE 25, 2012, 4:45 PM

ENGLEWOOD – If you live in Englewood and have ideas about what the city’s downtown and neighborhoods should look like, Mayor Frank Huttle wants to hear them.

Huttle is urging residents to attend a public hearing on Wednesday to discuss the city’s master plan, a blueprint for developing city property.

Municipalities are required to renew their master plans every six years. Englewood last renewed its master plan in 2009, but Huttle called the revision a “direct copy job” of the previous plan. He said the economic climate has changed so drastically since 2009 that a new master plan is needed.

“We’re taking a completely fresh look,” he said. “Whatever the people want, I’m OK with that.”

The public hearing, set for 7 p.m. at Community Baptist Church on First Street, will be unlike other forums, Huttle said. Rather than having residents sound off at a microphone, they will break into work groups with officials and discuss ideas in a roundtable format.

“It’s the first time we’re approaching it in this way,” he said. “We’re trying to embrace the whole community.”

The city has hired three firms to develop its master plan. Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit advisory group in the tri-state area, will help the city with its community involvement efforts, Huttle said. Brown & Keener, an urban design and planning firm in Philadelphia, will serve as planning consultants. Urban Partners, a Philadelphia consulting firm on urban projects, will analyze the economic impact of the proposals, he said.

The master plan will be a key factor in redeveloping the shuttered Lincoln School, on West EnglewoodAvenue across from Mackay Park next to the fire department. The city bought the building in 2003 and the district vacated it in 2008. Since then, it has been a target for vandals, thieves and squatters. Ideas for reusing the building have included a charter school, a community center and housing.

Email: bakerr@northjersey.com

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