ERWIN — A design consulting firm is seeking the public’s input on ways to improve downtown Erwin and will host a public meeting on Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Erwin Town Hall.
Earlier this month, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved an agreement with consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates to develop a master plan focusing on the revitalization of downtown Erwin. The firm was selected to undertake the project after a field of nine interested firms was narrowed down by Erwin officials.
Erwin Town Recorder Randy Trivette said the town has budgeted $150,000 for development of the master plan and another $10,000 from a grant through the Tennessee Valley Authority will go toward the project.
Throughout the day today, representatives from Kimley-Horn will meet with Erwin employees, officials and downtown business owners to discuss potential improvements on everything from infrastructure and parking to aesthetics.
Trivette said the master plan will not only focus on the downtown area’s appearance, but also the preservation of downtown’s history.
“Erwin has a proud history and heritage that we hope to incorporate into whatever plan we come up with,” Trivette said.
Another component of the master plan will be the development of economic development and branding plans for downtown, Trivette said. He said hopes are that the master plan will give guidance on how present business owners can increase their success and ways to encourage new businesses to locate in downtown.
“The development of the master plan will be instrumental in all future phases of the downtown revitalization effort, as it will provide a detailed layout of how the project will progress,” Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Delp wrote in a release announcing the upcoming meeting. “Community input into the plan will be invaluable because revitalization of the downtown will benefit the entire community.”
Trivette said Kimley-Horn representatives will begin compiling the information they have collected throughout the week on Friday, Trivette said. From that point, he said it should take approximately nine months for Kimley-Horn to complete the downtown revitalization master plan. He also said the public will have other opportunities to offer input during this process.