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Improving downtown Hancock

Brainstorming meeting Saturday

October 26, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Hancock city officials and residents have been discussing ways to improve the city's downtown for about four years, and Saturday those discussions will continue at the Reshape Downtown Hancock meeting.

The second of three meetings will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in room 323 at the Finlandia University Jutila Center for Global Design and Business in Hancock. It is open to the public and will be moderated by Jennifer Towles, project manager and architect with OHM Architects, Engineers, Planners in Hancock.

Towles said the purpose of the meetings is to continue the efforts of several task forces started last year to examine needs for downtown.

For purposes of the study, Towles said downtown Hancock is considered from the Portage Lake Lift Bridge west to the Jutila Center, and from the waterfront to the north end of the Finlandia campus.

"We're really concentrating on Hancock and Quincy streets," she said.

As part of the effort to come up with ideas for reshaping downtown Hancock, Towles said Finlandia design class students are involved, also, as a result of a grant the university received.

"They took a look at all the material that had been prepared before," she said.

Towles said the Finlandia students took photographs in various areas of downtown themselves then came up with some ideas.

"They looked at things they liked and things they thought could be improved," she said.

Ways to connect the various features of downtown, such as the waterfront, Finlandia and the Jutila Center will be developed, also, as well as ways to make downtown more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

The students' work will be shown at the Saturday meeting, and comments from the public will be taken. After the meeting, the students will develop a site plan then present it to the public on Nov. 10.

Photographs made by the design students and residents will be shown at the Saturday meeting, also, Towles said. For the meeting, downtown will be split into four areas and four work groups will be created to look at those areas.

"Saturday will be a work session," she said.

Once the plan is completed, Towles said it will be presented to the Hancock City Council to aid them in their planning.



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