The River Region's Wave of the Future!
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Seven-year-old Gray Cutter enjoys his time with the ducks at Gold Star Park on the Wetumpka riverfront. / HAMILTON RICHARDSON/PROGRESS
As 2011 closes, Wetumpka residents will be looking back with interest on the many changes and challenges that have occurred over the last 350-plus days to the city of Wetumpka as well as to the entire area.
One of the biggest positive movements in Wetumpka may be the city's increased movement toward riverfront development.
As some residents have publicly mentioned in previous city council meetings and other gatherings, the city of Wetumpka has discussed riverfront development for many years but the concept has never gotten fully off the ground. This year, the winds may have changed.
In May, the Wetumpka city council voted to approve $150,000 (two payments of $75,000) for a development project that would be headed up by the Elmore County Development Authority.
At the time, Rep. Barry Mask, representing ECEDA, made his pitch for the project to the group.
"We'll be providing more information on the process to get the plan in ink," said the representative. We'll have lots of public input."
Mask did indeed get the public involved, as was shown at a meeting in late October.
The next step in the development of Wetumpka's riverfront took place at the city's civic center as members of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority and various consultants got together to let the public know what's happening with the project.
Mask headed up the public meeting, along with consultants from Brown-Chambliss Architects, Sasaki Associates and WTL+a, and about 100 residents gathered to hear the presentation and ask questions.
After various speakers shared information about the proposed project, the public also gave its opinion, which was supportive but included some challenges as well.
Mask described to the group five different committees that were being formed and his desire for residents to assist in the work that the committees would be doing.
The committees, which will flesh out the development details, are:
--The History and Context Committee (chaired by councilwoman Kathy Holt)
--The Business District Committee (chaired by councilman Greg Jones)
--The Riverfront Committee (chaired by councilman Chris Carter)
--The Economic Expansion Committee (chaired by councilman Lewis Washington)
--The Catalyst Projects and Phasing Committee (chaired by councilman Ken Hammock)
As far as the current situation on the riverfront development plan, Mask, in an email received a few days ago, said, "The five riverfront committees met on Dec. 13 to begin to assess and formulate ideas. This info will go to the consultants who will then come back at the end of January and meet with the committees."
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