Guest opinion: Help out with Minden planning process
Since April, Minden residents, business owners and others from the county have been working on a plan for the future of Minden. On April 25, more than 60 Minden citizens participated in a community workshop to discuss planning opportunities and objectives for the town’s future. Participants identified Minden’s physical, cultural and social assets, economic objectives and image objectives. On June 6, more than 35 people joined the Strategy for Prosperity Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to identify land use and circulation features important to the community’s future.
On Tuesday, July 25, you are invited to continue to participate in shaping development opportunities into images and design criteria.
As this process moves forward, the question has been raised, “Why the focus on the Town of Minden?”
Over the past few years, Douglas County received a number of proposals and various requests related to development activity within the town of Minden.
During the same timeframe the county made a significant investment with the purchase of the Minden Inn, the adjoining single family lot on Mono Avenue, and is considering acquiring additional property adjacent to the Minden Inn.
The Town of Minden has also made a substantial investment in the Town Park and along Esmeralda Avenue. Additionally, the county has been approached with questions regarding development of property in the immediate downtown area as well as in a number of other locations throughout Minden.
In discussions with individuals regarding various parcels, we have determined that an overall picture should be developed for the town of Minden rather than planning specific projects independent of each other. To that end, the county and residents of Minden have been working together, looking at what the town of Minden should be in the future. Douglas County, the town of Minden and adjacent property owners have worked together on a realignment of County Road, Church Street and Highway 395 to provide a much more user-friendly intersection. With the recent purchase/remodel of the old First Interstate/Wells Fargo Bank building there may be additional opportunities to enhance the look of downtown Minden.
The town has put a lot of effort into what the core of Minden will look like, and how we expand beyond that core becomes a critical factor. All along Highway 395, we see new buildings. We need to continue to look at those buildings, as architecture and other issues enhance or take away from the community character. As we begin to put all of these pieces together we look at such issues as architectural style, landscaping, public improvements, the general feel and “character” that development will bring into Minden.
One of the aspects for a healthy economy is the generation of a customer base for businesses. This is generally done in different ways: 1) reliance on existing and new residents, 2) a reliance on tourism in general and 3) creating an environment which draws greatly from both of the previous categories. While Minden utilizes all three of these strategies to some degree, creating a stronger attraction in all three areas can be achieved in Minden. There is the opportunity to enhance the number of businesses within the community that are attractive to both residents and tourists. The town has utilized special events in the past very effectively as a means of drawing people into the downtown area. Within the overall development process, there may be additional opportunities for special events and the promotion of retail business that would serve as a strong attraction for residents and tourists.
Intermixed in all of this are the issues related to traffic flow in and through the town as well as parking facilities for enhanced business opportunities. Also integrated into this must be the concept of a “walkable” community, allowing people to easily navigate through the various businesses. This includes enhancing the overall town to create a social environment for residents and visitors alike. This is done by enhancing the number of small shops and boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. that allow for residents and visitors to spend time on a social level, interacting with friends and family in a comfortable atmosphere.
As noted above, over the past few years all of these issues have been brought forward to the county in one form or another. In order to bring these issues together, an overall vision and action plan is coming together.
There is a desire at the county level to keep and enhance the character that now exists within the Town of Minden, and at the same time, provide the framework through which additional businesses can prosper within the town, securing an economic foundation now and in the future. This takes planning and community involvement.
You are invited to be a part of Minden’s future by being a part of the next community workshop, Tuesday, July 25, at the C.V.I.C. Hall, at 6:30 p.m.
n Dan Holler is the Douglas County manager.