Challenge: Like most downtowns across the U.S., the downtown area of the City of Keene, NH is the economic engine and gathering place for the community. Downtown Keene represents the spirit and place of the city itself as well as the Monadnock region of NH. MJ was retained to help create a community vision for the future of the downtown area. Working with community members and officials, MJ assessed function, aesthetics, and infrastructure needs for the downtown area based upon extensive outreach and input from members of the community, visitors, and business owners.
Solution: MJ provided community decision makers with options and alternatives that reflect the future vision desired. A robust public outreach program was an important part of the design process which included a multi-day Community Vision Forum where community members could drop-in to the Forum to provide input and have one-on-one discussions with MJ planning professionals or attend focused discussions on land use, public spaces, and circulation. The focused discussions were led by MJ's planners and engineers who specialize in downtown revitalization. Remote input from community members was also sought by the use of an Internet-based survey. MJ collaborated throughout the project with a steering committee led by the Mayor of Keene. MJ produced a final report summarizing the public input as well as presenting downtown streetscape graphics that represented the community vision. This work now serves as a foundation for the City of Keene to move ahead on revitalization projects with the confidence of knowing that a community vision for the future of their downtown area has been reached.