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Design Workshop holds downtown Wheaton open house, surveys available online

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 5:02 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:21 p.m. CDT

WHEATON — Design Workshop, the firm charged with developing a strategic plan for downtown Wheaton, held an open house Feb. 28 to gather public input on more detailed ideas to improve the downtown.

At a Wheaton City Council planning session held Jan. 29, Design Workshop associate Britt Palmberg described the vision developed by the firm based on previous feedback it had received from Wheaton residents and its own work. The vision focuses on elevating the position of downtown Wheaton as a destination location in the western suburbs.

Following that meeting, the firm was charged with developing more detailed plans to present at an open house at the end of February.

Some of the ideas presented Feb. 28 include enhancing the French Market by building a permanent facility, adding benches and signage near the Prairie Path, installing new streetscape amenities, adding parking, creating a "central park" south of the railroad tracks and offering additional programming.

Another idea involves enhancing certain streets to serve as "festival streets," meaning they may serve as the center of events such as the Taste of Wheaton or just as the heart of downtown, especially during the warm months when visitors seek outdoor dining.

At the meeting, residents were given the opportunity to ask questions following a presentation by Palmberg and Design Workshop President Kurt Culbertson. After that, the firm asked a series of questions to gather responses from those present.

Although the keypad-polling system did not work at the open house, Design Workshop representatives printed out copies of the slides with the questions to allow attendees to indicate their answers. These packets were collected at the end of the night.

Those who were unable to attend the open house can share their ideas for downtown through an online survey and forum.

Design Workshop will host another public meeting at 7 p.m. April 4, following the firm's review of survey and forum responses.

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