During the spring of 2003, PGAV was selected by the City of Washington to develop a Downtown plan. PGAV chose to partner with Unicom-ARC, who brought expertise in targeted public opinion surveys. The desired outcome was an action-oriented Strategic Planning document reflecting community consensus about the future revitalization of Downtown Washington. PGAV was selected for its ability to produce a results-driven plan, its experience in developing public-private partnerships, and PGAVs’ relationships within the development community.
The process of evaluating the built environment and market area of historic Downtown Washington revealed several key issues. Historic Downtown Washington has a rich character, with a diversity of building types and styles. There are opportunities for infill development, targeted redevelopment, or building rehabilitation and façade improvements. Market research revealed that Washington not only serves as the retail hub of a large portion of northwest/central Missouri, but it is also well positioned to serve as the gateway for Missouri Valley Wine Country, with over 29 wineries within a one-hour drive of Washington.
As a result of its experience, community research, Downtown assessment, the surveys and several public engagement sessions conducted by Unicom-Arc, PGAV made policy and administrative recommendations to retain the character of Downtown through the implementation of architectural guidelines for infill development, and a strong program for building rehabilitation. As a result of work done for the Strategic Plan, the City’s Redevelopment Corporation engaged PGAV to evaluate future uses for a recently vacated automotive dealership.
In the final work product, “Downtown Economic Revitalization Plan”, PGAV identified key roles of the Downtown partners, sources of funding, and action steps to be taken. The report, which was published November 15, 2004, has already resulted in the collaboration of the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Washington, and the regional wineries in a combined marketing piece; Downtown businesses initiation of business practice standards; the City’s establishment of an architectural review panel to review rehabilitation and new development; the City implementation of streetscape enhancements along Jefferson Avenue, a primary street of the Downtown and the rehabilitation of a vacant building into a Farmers’ Market.