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A Charrette in Blakely " Article 4

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the visions developed for Early County during the recent charrette planning process held by Early County 2055.

The past several weeks we have taken brief glimpses at the visions and ideas for Arlington Damascus, Jakin and Hilton. But, what about Blakely?

There were a number of ideas and visions for Blakely, including the Omaha Arcade idea for court square, on the left, new life for the old Harvey's parking lot, on the right, roundabouts, a piazzette, a new post office and plaza, a downtown hotel on the southeast corner of Court Square, loft apartments in the two-story buildings, a civic park and museum on College Street and much more.

During PlaceMakers' architectural discussions with property owners around the Court Square, an interest was expressed in a particular feature known as the Omaha Arcade.

The arcade effect is created with wider sidewalks and wood and metal extensions from building fronts, attached between the first and second story, that shades the sidewalk.

The appeal is easy to understand. Blakely, like any town in the south, experiences intense heat and sun at certain times during the year.
The result, especially in conjunction with wider sidewalks, is a cooler and more flexible space - perfect for outdoor dining, ceiling fans, interesting signage and all manner of retail decoration.

The wider sidewalks would also tend to slow the traffic around Court Square, which the PlaceMakers determined to be too fast for the amount of pedestrian traffic present.

One strategy for dealing with empty big box buildings like the old Harvey's

building on North Main, as well as the parking lots that surround them, is what's known as in-fill development, whereby the building is transitioned to an alternate use and the empty lot is redeveloped with new construction.

The PlaceMakers' ideas in revitalizing the old Harvey's building involves converting the home on College Street owned by Ms. Arnold to a formal civic park and connecting it with

the abandoned property. The old Harvey's building could be retained and converted to a new use that doesn't generate a huge need for parking. The former parking lot could be redeveloped as a combination of both retail buildings and residential townhomes and apartments.

To read the article online, click here.

updated: 9 years ago