EDA works on strategic development plan

Body: 

The Farmington Economic Development Authority on June 27 heard an update on the downtown plaza concept, a short-term strategic economic development plan and a long-range comp plan or roadmap for development in the city over the next two decades.

Adam Kienberger, community development director, updated the Farmington Economic Development Authority (EDA) on the Rambling River Center Plaza Concept plan. He also included information about the 2040 Comp Plan and the 2016-2018 Strategic Plan for Economic Development in Farmington.

"The Parks and Recreation Commission reviewed and recommended approval of a preferred concept for the proposed Rambling River Center Plaza," Kienberger said.

The Downtown Farmington Redevelopment Plan adopted in 2016 identifies a need for a downtown destination or a park that could serve as a plaza. The outdoor plaza area would be redesigned in the parking lot west of Rambling River Center in downtown Farmington.

The preferred concept plans show a destination space designed to attract residents and visitors to downtown. The plaza could offer a variety of amenities like a splash pad, an indoor and outdoor flexible space that could house picnic table seating or even glass roll-up doors on the Rambling River Center so the space could serve as an entertaining space to host music or food events or become a venue for classes.

The plaza could continue to preserve the historic bell that now sits outdoors next to the senior center. The plaza could become a venue for outdoor art that could double as a children's climbing play area. A shaded plaza area could be well suited for movie watching and picnicking. The space could be designed to be a flexible indoor and outdoor banquet area for the public and Rambling River Center members to rent for private and public events.

The Farmington City Council will discuss the preferred plan concept plan at the July 17 council work session and decide how to proceed.

The Farmington Planning Commission began work on the 2040 Com Plan update at its June 13 meeting.

"A consultant team is in the process of finalizing a website to gather public input and promote information about the Comp Plan update," Kienberger said. This information will be available soon on the city's website at www.ci.farmington.mn.us.

The Farmington EDA, an advisory board to the city council, reviews all matters related to economic development. Kienberger said the mission of the EDA will be to improve the economic vitality of the city of Farmington and enhance the overall quality of life by creating partnerships, fostering employment opportunities, promoting workforce housing and expanding the tax base through development and redevelopment.

The EDA adopted five top priorities at a strategic planning session that will be a focus or road map from 2016-2018.

The EDA five priorities include:

• Develop tools for promoting growth and development in Farmington.

• Develop strong incentive policies to ensure proper use of tools.

• Explore plans for acquiring land for new industrial development.

• Complete the development of Vermillion River Crossings.

• Define and utilize the existing or future resources of the EDA.