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Waterford - Think for a moment: If you were to leave your hometown for 10 to 15 years, what changes would you want to see made by the time you return?
A team of town officials, architects and planners intend to ask Waterford residents that very question and others next month at a series of public workshops to develop a master plan that will cultivate a "Main Street" feel in Jordan Village and the surrounding area.
"You have a 200-year-old town here that doesn't have a traditional town center anymore," said Elaine Van S. Carmichael, a Wisconsin-based economic development consultant working on the plan. "And Jordan Village makes sense for that because of its proximity to all of the civic uses, where you go repeatedly, and because of its historic character."
Jordan Village is the oldest settlement in Waterford and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Sixty structures make up the historic village and, along with the adjacent Civic Triangle, it has been home to town government since about 1848.
With grant funding from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation's Vibrant Communities Initiative, Carmichael and the other consultants working on the plan are tasked with turning the area into a civic, commercial, educational, residential and recreational center.
"We see this as an opportunity. Jordan Village has, intact, some really nice historic and quasi-historic buildings," said Ernest Hutton, a planning consultant working on the project. "What are the guidelines to make sure it keeps that character and enhance that character? What can we do in terms of the parks and open spaces to contribute to that? What can we do in terms of the roads and traffic to make sure they aren't barriers to that?"
In addition to reviewing the village's historic assets, economic trends, zoning, historic resources and possible reuse of buildings, the team is also charged with developing a plan for the streetscape of Rope Ferry Road, which links Jordan Village and the bustling Route 1.
That plan - which could include bicycle lanes, additional crosswalks and improvements to the sidewalks - is intended to make it easier for people to move along Rope Ferry Road on foot or on a bike.
"We're moving back to being more multi-modal, more all-inclusive of how people get around in a community because car-oriented communities are not necessarily good for the economy because shops get more business from people walking by," Elena M. Pascarella, a landscape architect working on the project, said.
The public workshops, Hutton said, will provide the framework for the team to develop the final master plan.
"We're trying to take our lead from residents and the people who are actually going to be using it," he said.
March 6 - Public forum and presentation, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Waterford Public Library lower meeting room
March 7 - Hands-on design and planning open house, noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., Waterford Public Library lower meeting room
March 8 - Public walk-through of Jordan Village and the Civic Triangle, 10 a.m. to noon, meet at Waterford Public Library; hands-on design and planning open house, noon to 2 p.m., Waterford Public Library lower meeting room
For more information, visit www.waterfordct.org/JordanVillagePlan.html.