The Village of Greenwich is located in New York State about an hour north of Albany. The Village has numerous historic, natural and agricultural resources and a strong sense of community. However, the village would like to strengthen its economic base, building on its many resources, while protecting the characteristics that make it a unique and memorable place. In summer 2009 the Village approached the CCDR to facilitate a vision planning process to guide their future planning and design decisions and provide the foundation for an updated comprehensive plan. The Village was also interested in exploring site design alternatives for an abandoned mill site located along the Battenkill River.
Topic Areas: Main Street Revitalization, Village Planning and Site Design
Project Scale: Village Vision Plan
Accomplished by: Prof. Cheryl Doble, the 2nd Year Graduate Student Design Studio (LSA 620), and Tim Gazzo, graduate assistant
CCDR: Maren King and Annalena Davis, graduate assistant
Partners: the Village of Greenwich Vision Advisory Committee, and Kathy Dorgan, Consultant
How can a village thrive economically while keeping its traditional character, scale and sense of community?
What should be considered when redeveloping a brownfield site located within the fabric of a village neighborhood?
In the village of Greenwich the CCDR worked in partnership with the village mayor David Doonan, an advisory committee, and Kathy Dorgan, a consultant, to plan and facilitate the vision planning process. The CCDR team included landscape architecture faculty, staff and 14 graduate students in the landscape architecture program.
The Village of Greenwich’s vision planning process resulted in a Vision Plan, which is comprised of a Vision Statement, Goals and Action Strategies, and a Strategic Areas diagram that illustrates how the vision can guide redevelopment within the Village. The Vision Plan was created through documentation, analysis and confirmation of community dialogue that took place during workshops held in the fall and winter of 2009 and 2010, from a survey distributed during the village’s Fall Festival and from observations made by students during visits to the Village. Among the final documentation is a PowerPoint presentation that describes the process and results.
During the first workshop, in early October, students facilitated activities with community members to explore their history and sense of place, the recreational and leisure activities in the village, where and how the community gathered, and the important components of the local economy. At the end of the workshop participants also completed a survey asking them how they would like to describe Greenwich ten years from now. The results from these activities and from the Fall Festival survey provided a better understanding of the Village and community member’s desires and concerns, and from this draft vision and goal ideas were developed.
At the beginning of the second workshop community members viewed posters with the results from the first workshop’s activities, and were given the opportunity to contribute to and confirm these results. This was followed with a presentation summarizing the results from the first workshop and explaining the vision planning process.
After the presentation students facilitated an activity exploring the themes regarding the desired future for the village that came out of the previous workshop, and asking participants to prioritize them. The results from this activity led to the development of the Vision Statement. Community members then developed ideas for improvements to the village they would like to see in the next five to ten years. After brainstorming these ideas, they were shown six goal categories and were asked to match their ideas up with the appropriate category if it existed. The results from this activity led to the alteration and final development of the Vision Plan’s goals. The ideas people developed during this activity, on the Fall Festival Survey and through various other activities were also used to develop Action Strategies for these goals.
During the second workshop’s final activity participants reviewed and discussed Design Studies for Greenwich that students had developed. These illustrated alternative approaches to taking advantage of identified opportunities and addressing concerns that had come out during the first workshop. The ideas in these designs which people thought had potential, the ideas they had concerns about and the questions they raised were later documented and summarized, resulting in a series of strategic ideas and areas that should guide redevelopment decisions. These strategic ideas and areas were documented in diagram form, illustrating the importance of place connections and relationships.
At the third and final workshop in early January, 2010 the CCDR presented a summary and explanation of the findings from the first two workshops, the final Vision Plan and the Strategic Areas Plan. Participants then prioritized action strategies for each goal and were given a presentation on how to move forward with these action strategies and develop action plans. In the final activity groups developed action plans for two of the highest ranked action strategies, considering why they were important, what steps would need to be taken, what resources were needed, who should be involved and whether it would be a short-term or long-term process. Those present were excited about the potential for these two strategies to be the first of many to be implemented as a result of the Vision Plan.
In addition to the Vision Plan, students developed design alternatives for the Dunbarton Mill Site. The Mill Site, one of the strategic areas for redevelopment identified by community members, is located along the Battenkill. It has been not used for manufacturing for a number of years and contains architectural and site remnants of it former use. The studies were reviewed with members of the advisory committee in January. Several of these Mill Site Design Studies, along with a description of the project, how they can be useful to the village and some guidelines for redevelopment derived from the studies were provided to the village.