Wednesday March 12th at 6pm in the Jaycee Studio at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, over 80 attendees including residents, business owners, property owners, city staff and elected officials participated in the Visioning Hopkins Mainstreet event. The exercise focused on envisioning Mainstreet in the next 20 to 30 years, and looked at new trends and opportunities including newly-constructed housing and the proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit. Visioning was presented by a dozen diverse individuals who were asked to explain their vision for Hopkins Mainstreet in a Pecha Kucha format. In this format 20 slides were shown for 20 seconds each, which kept each presentation concise and fast-paced.
First presenter Mike Waltman, Bolton & Menk, spoke about the upcoming resurfacing of Mainstreet from Fifth Avenue to Shady Oak Road, to begin in July of 2015. Bolstered by $660,000 in federal funding, the project will include work on signals, crosswalks, lighting, and sidewalk improvements.
Lynn Anderson, Hopkins Center for the Arts, talked about continuing to make Hopkins vibrant by filling empty storefronts, increasing the diversity of the mix of stores, and marketing Hopkins as a destination, possibly by hiring a marketing person.
Alan Schutte, Platt Hollow Road, spoke about moving the Hopkins brand forward – having a consistent image for the marketing of Hopkins – including an updated logo for the city.
Jeff McMenimem, Hoisington Koegler Group Inc (HKGI), explained the importance, principles and elements of public space, to “create a positive memory of place”.
Rob Smolund, Open to Business, explained the various programs and services available to business owners and business property owners, from the Open to Business program.
Hillary Feder, Hillary’s, encouraged the Hopkins community to understand Millennial Generation values, build on our strengths, and support opportunities for entrepreneurs. She suggested that Hopkins think big, plan and accelerate.
Nancy Anderson and Stacy Unowsky, City of Hopkins, talked about the issues surrounding food trucks and pop-up stores in Hopkins.
Meg Beekman, City of Hopkins, explained the advantages and challenges of Business Improvement Districts, also known as Special Service Districts.
Michael Koop, MN State History Preservation Office, spoke about the 2010 survey of historic buildings in Hopkins, and on the process of creating an historic district designation on Mainstreet.
Kersten Elverum, City of Hopkins, explained the plan to ‘extend Mainstreet’ south on 8th Avenue to the Southwest Light Rail station, and reported on the earlier held visioning project for 8th Avenue –“The Artery”.
Jack Beeker, Forecast Public Art, talked about what public art is, and the fact that “public artists are in the experience business”.
And in the final presentation, 20 randomly selected attendees were asked to read a short description for each of a 20 slide presentation entitled “Wheels” describing rail, streetcar, auto and bicycle history in Hopkins.
After a short break, all attendees were given four dot stickers to place on each of the ideas and concepts they found most exciting. We’ve asked Visioning project coordinator Kersten Elverum to report on the results of this exercise:
The slide that garnered the greatest number of dots – 14 total - carried the message Fill empty storefronts. With no less than 10 new businesses currently building-out Mainstreet storefronts, the public should see a dramatic decrease in vacancies. That being said, City staff and the Hopkins community should continue efforts to recruit new businesses to Hopkins that complement our existing mix.
The second highest point total at 13 dots was for a New Hopkins logo, presented by Alan Shutte, Platt Hollow Road.
Other ideas that were supported were: Preservation is Green & Sustainable; Archways over 8th Avenue at Excelsior Boulevard and across Mainstreet; Images of light art and lighted walkways; Using a new image on the water tower; Outdoor markets; the Downtown Hopkins LRT plaza; and of course, the Opening of LTD Brewing (scheduled to open early May 2014).