QUINCY — In the first of many meetings to come, the Quincy Riverfront Development Steering Committee met Thursday and outlined the yearlong process of developing a comprehensive development strategy for the city's riverfront.
"I think it was a good back-and-forth on expectations and what we wanted this process to look like. This was honestly the most dialogue in a committee meeting that I have had in some time," Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said after the meeting. The committee consists of members of the Quincy City Council, Quincy Park District Commission, Adams County Board and members of the public.
The meeting was facilitated by representatives of Klingner and Associates and consultants who specialize in designing riverfront areas and public engagement. Following a series of yet-to-be announced public forums, meetings with individual groups of stakeholders, and monthly meetings with the steering committee, the consultants will help craft a riverfront development plan that reflects the priorities and comments of the community, said Bonnie Roy, a consultant with SWT Design of St. Louis.
The committee's goals for engagement consisted of meeting with landowners, restaurateurs, bar owners and business owners along the riverfront; launching a website to share information and to solicit feedback from the public; and organizing a town hall meeting where the public could view riverfront developments from other communities. The committee also hopes to hear from the public on how any potential riverfront developments could be financed using either public or private investment.
"If we can keep the public informed throughout the process then that is the biggest win of all," said Adams County Board President Bret Austin. He said too many previous riverfront development plans have not sought the public's input from the beginning, which he said cost them support.
Committee members said they wanted a plan that could be broken down in "bite size" pieces that had a distinct timeline for completion.
"Within two years, we really need to have something for the public to see that is progress," said Alderman Tonia McKiernan, D-1. She added that development on the riverfront could mirror the development of the city's walking and fitness trails, which are being completed as funding allows.
The committee said the plan should address how any developments would handle potential flooding.
"Having a strong response to the question of why are government entities spending all this money on an area that floods is key," said Alderman John Mast, R-5.
Committee members also suggested things — an amphitheater, a facility that catered to boaters, removable flower pots and landscaping — they would like to see in the eventual development plan.
The next meeting date of the committee has not been set, but it plans to meet in February.