Downtown is Eugene’s civic center and the economic, cultural and governmental focus of the region. Parks and open spaces play a critical role in the vitality of the area and how people experience downtown. In June, 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 funding is allocated, however, the Council wants to hear from the community. As part of a broad public engagement process, community members are being invited to help create a vision of what’s best for the downtown parks and open spaces and provide input on what improvements are most important to them.
Starting this month, the City will begin 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, Broadway Plaza (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.
This week, PPS will begin a series of interviews and focus groups with key downtown stakeholders and will be conducting an observational study of the current uses of downtown public spaces. In addition, a “pop-up” Placemaking Station will be set up in downtown Eugene to collect input from community members. The station will be located at the Plaza at the Hult on Thursday, August 11 and at LTD’s downtown station on Friday, August 12. Larger community conversations and workshops on downtown parks and open spaces will be scheduled this October to gather more community input.