“How do we create a downtown environment despite the fact that this new bridge, in many ways, cuts off some key streets in a way that it didn’t do before,” Elias said. “We didn’t want to feel like we had a forked downtown. This downtown unit was really important to us.
“And all on the theme of doing it once and doing it right. It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity to really rethink, what’s our downtown porch for our community?”
The Urban Land Institute report includes the creation of a neighborhood called “Mill Town Basin” at the heart of development. In the neighborhood will be a four-story building called Mill Town Housing, consisting of apartments and townhouses; the Mill Town Basin, which will feature shops, restaurants, kiosks, an outdoor amphitheater, ice rink, fire pits with seating; a Great Riverfront Park which offers extended walking trails with a water taxi dock; and a water jet that shoots 200 to 400 feet in the air.
Elias said including a residential component with the construction of the Mill Town neighborhood, consisting of townhouses and apartments, would help connect the areas.
“The more people you have coming and going, the more successful your downtown is,” Elias said. “It became the base of this Mill Town neighborhood, as they called it. Mill Town was the proposed name (Urban Land Institute). That doesn’t mean we’re renaming our downtown area. It was a feature of organization they thought of. “