Planning underway for revised Midtown/Plaza area plan to shape future decisions

The new Midtown/Plaza area plan will be a document that guides land use, development, economic development and transportation within the boundaries shown on this map. The city is inviting businesses, neighborhoods and institutions to get involved in creating the new plan. It is expected to be completed in about a year.

City planners say meetings to develop a new Midtown/Plaza area plan will begin in October. The comprehensive tool promises to make a big impact on the future of the area. Planner Kellie Johnston Dorsey says the city has been divided into 18 areas for which area plans have been or are being created. The city’s focus now turns to the Midtown/Plaza area, whose boundaries are 31st Street to 55th Street, State Line Road to Paseo Boulevard.

According to city planner John DeBauche, the current land use plan governing Westport is 40 years old. In addition, the city has 46 plans that cover some aspect of the Westport/Plaza area. The new plan will incorporate the principles of FOCUS, the city’s comprehensive strategic guide, and consolidate some out-of-date plans. Once it is completed, the Westport/Plaza plan will be used to guide decision making at city hall.

“The Midtown/Plaza area is sophisticated, and this area is organized,” DeBauche said. He added it will be a challenge to bring together the various strong interests that overlap in the area.

Major elements of the planning area include:

  • The Troost Corridor
  • Main Street
  • Broadway Boulevard
  • Westport Road
  • 39th Street
  • Westport
  • The Plaza
  • The Cultural District
  • More than 30 neighborhoods

The planners currently are putting together a steering committee that will include one-third neighborhood representatives, one-third institutions and one-third businesses. A data book that gives an overview of the area has already been developed.  As the plan progresses, residents and businesses will be surveyed to get broad input.

Area plans generally contain four standard sets of guidelines: land use, development, economic development and transportation. However, DeBauche says the city is open to allowing participants to suggest other elements they’d like to see included in the plan.

Once the planning officially starts, there will be community meetings that will allow all residents and businesses to participate. Those who want to offer input now can weigh in at the plan’s Mindmixer site. Mindmixer is an online tool for gathering citizen input.