In June 2016, the Eugene City Council approved an ordinance making the downtown Park Blocks and other open spaces eligible for up to $5.2 million of urban renewal funding for improvements. Before allocating funding, the Council asked to hear from the community about their vision for what’s best for downtown parks and open spaces and what improvements are most important to them.
The City began working with the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) on a public engagement effort on existing public spaces downtown including the Park Blocks, the Plaza at the Hult, Kesey Square, and the Library Plaza, as well as the pedestrian paths that link them. PPS is an internationally known non-profit that has a long history of helping communities transform public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.
Final Recommendations from PPS
In their report, "Placemaking in Eugene," the team from PPS incorporated the ideas, concerns and comments from the public engagement completed in 2016, and turned that into a vision for downtown. They made a general recommendation for bold action, specifically involving a three-pronged approach of: safety and social services; activation (particularly with attractive events for families); and physical improvements.
Their work includes detail recommendations for each of the four public spaces (Park Blocks, Kesey Square, the Library Plaza, and Plaza at the Hult Center), as well as a strategy for downtown management.
Places for People began with public engagement to hear from people across the community about their experiences and ideas for the downtown public spaces. PPS has documented those conversations and survey responses in their report: Summary of Observations and Community Engagement.
You can download the file here (please note, at about 30MB, the file is large).