Henderson showed how team designers linked the aspirations of community members with strategies that recognized and leveraged the neighborhood’s industrial and agricultural heritage; that considered growth in bite-sized increments; and that built on what was already in place to achieve a more walkable/bikeable mix of commerce and housing.
Community members like the idea of greening redevelopment with a minimum of non-permeable surfaces, responsible storm water management and a “skipping stone” of parks and walking paths. All of that was worked into Henderson’s presentation and into the team’s designs.
Nathan Small, who represents the Amador district in the City Council and who made every meeting during the five days, congratulated his constituents on their participation and promised City follow-through.
Henderson’s walk-through of proposals and the one-on-one conversations around displays showing how the ideas might play out in familiar areas of the neighborhood were well received. Here’s a sampling from the Monday-night audience:
A plan that responds to what the team heard during the week must allocate and connect space in ways that attract new investment — and jobs — without trying to transform the area into something it’s not. There have to be opportunities for growing existing small businesses and for inventing new ones and for buying or renting homes at prices affordable to a broad range of people.
Listen to Andrew von Maur, one of two designers who produced the images that grabbed so much attention Monday night, as he takes you through the neighborhood as imagined for the future:
Below is an annotated version of the map von Maur described:
Now, consider before and after treatments at places of opportunity in key sections of the neighborhood, starting in the old industrial area off East Hayner, where a new business might locate (click for larger view):
In the same area, a new plaza is proposed with food trucks supplying the casual dining experience and informal meeting opportunities (click for larger view):
At West and Compress, designers tried out the idea of “Makers Space,” an opportunity for start-up businesses (anything from a welder to a 3D printer or an artist) to rent small space to grow an idea into a viable livelihood (click for larger view):
At Compress and West Amador, considered a gateway into the neighborhood, why not create an entry feature that signaled the community’s industrial history? Stacked containers make for impressive gateway signage (click for larger view):
Over on Hadley, where Nellie’s Café and the High Desert Brewery have established themselves, the team sees an opportunity to “complete the street” with more mixed use development (click for larger view):
Along the edges of the popular Branigan Park there could be small-scale live/play housing to take advantage of recreational access to the Park (click for larger view):
Expanding on the housing theme, designer John Anderson — a former builder who now trains developers anxious to try their hands at small-scale neighborhood-style development — offered up a range of housing scales that would feel right in the West Amador neighborhood. For instance, here’s a Southern New Mexico-style duplex (click for larger view):
And even a casita version of a Tiny House (click for larger view):
Anderson also worked out ways to make Valley Drive more of a boulevard that could work for faster moving cars and protect bicyclists while creating an environment friendly to pedestrian-oriented retail. Anderson talked about those goals in a video explainer here. For the wrap-up event, he refined his ideas to provide even more protection of bicyclists. Here’s John walking Valley Drive:
And here’s his suggested resolution (click for larger view):
A Great Week
Throughout this process, the commitment of the Amador neighborhood has been remarkable. We extend a sincere “thank you” to everyone who lent their perspective and vision to this ambitious effort.