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Grantee Spotlight: Bloomfield Streetscape Demonstration

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With support from Neighborhood Allies, the Bloomfield Development Corporation (BDC) implemented a Streetscape Demonstration that creatively gathered community consensus on a variety of streetscape amenities that will be installed next spring.

Last year, we provided a grant to BDC to temporarily install two sets of benches with planters and, simultaneously, collect feedback from residents and business owners. The benches and planters were displayed on Liberty Avenue between Edmond Street and State Way for two weeks each.

This initiative came out of the Bloomfield Vision Plan, which was created through extensive community input, as a recommendation that BDC “create a pilot program to test out streetscape improvements” which would spark conversation around preferred improvements to the Bloomfield business district. The primary goal of this initiative was to complete a robust outreach process to determine the neighborhood’s preferences for benches and planters and if they were wanted at all. With our support, BDC went to the streets to present options for the design and locations to residents and business owners so that they could select the benches and design features they preferred. In addition, BDC’s documentation of this process, the Streetscape Demonstration Model, will also serve as a step-by-step guide for communities looking to replicate and implement a similar project. The guide is expected to be released this month.

Innovative Outreach

Along with tried and true methods for community outreach, BDC engaged residents through more innovative ways. Michael Baker International, who consulted for this project, provided a 30-foot poster of Liberty Avenue viewed from above to allow a person to place stickers on the poster to “vote” where they would like to see benches installed. The map was a fun and interactive way to collect input from the community.

BDC also placed blank surveys and a locked ballot box with golf pencils outside a vacant storefront next to the temporary benches and planters. The ballot box received approximately 200 survey submissions. On weekdays the box was emptied once every 3-4 days, but on weekends the inbox needed to be emptied daily. Not only was the box popular, but it also allowed people trying out the benches to provide immediate feedback.

Community Feedback

After the surveying was completed, the data from the online survey, paper survey, and sticker map were analyzed to get information on three topics. Through the community’s feedback BDC was able to determine the following: if Bloomfield wanted benches and planters, preferences on the look of the benches and planters, and where people would like to have benches placed.

Implementation Next Steps

The design/plans for the selected benches and planters will go before the Art Commission for approval next month and are expected to be installed next spring!

For more information on the Bloomfield Streetscape Demonstration, or to receive a  link to the step-by-step guide when it is complete, contract Christina Howell, Executive Director of BDC, at christina@bloomfieldnow.org

 

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