By Sam Prickett
As part of an effort to develop a master plan for downtown Homewood, the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham is conducting a survey to help determine short- and long-term priorities.
The Heart of Homewood Plan Community Visioning Survey is intended to contribute to a comprehensive development plan for the city’s downtown area, addressing housing, streetscaping and parking, among other topics.
The survey will function as a sort of town hall to gauge public concerns, said Lindsay Puckett, the principal planner for the commission.
“Long gone are the days when people wanted to go to an old-fashioned public meeting,” she said. Instead, she said, the survey is meant to “go where the people are” – online.
Though the survey’s focus is strictly on downtown Homewood, it’s open not only to residents, but also those who work in the area, as well as frequent visitors.
Puckett points to the development of a Hilton Curio Hotel in downtown Homewood as something that would have benefitted from the survey. Initial designs for the hotel were met with public criticisms of parking and the building’s height.
Developers adapted to those criticisms, but Puckett said a survey would have made such issues avoidable.
The survey is currently online, and the commission is planning a public campaign to raise awareness for it. Two open-house events will be held at the Homewood City Hall council chambers on Tuesday, Sept. 26. One will be from noon to 1:30 p.m., and the other will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The commission is hoping to get “as much public input as we can,” Puckett said, with a goal of at least 400 respondents. Results, she said, would be made public “probably by Thanksgiving.”
To find out more about the Heart of Homewood Plan and to take the survey, visit heartofhomewoodplan. com. ❖