SkyscraperCity Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
for an intro to Beloit....

where is beloit?,-89.176984&spn=1.339844,2.602059&hl=en

Beloit 2020 shows plan to public
It's all about imagination and vision.

Beloit 2020, an organization of business and civic leaders previously known as Beloit 2000, unveiled for public officials Wednesday evening the group's plan for continuing improvements in the central city. The plan draws on Beloit's successes and seeks to capitalize on undeveloped land and goals yet unrealized.

Elected officials and other public employees from Beloit and South Beloit were given a sneak preview at the Beloit Rotary River Center. While the plan sketches out a vision and goals through preliminary graphics and maps, the details have been left largely blank, with the intent of involving the community and stakeholders in the visioning process.

At the introduction of the presentation, Nick Lelack, a senior planner for the consulting firm Schreiber Anderson Associates, told the gathering their input is important in moving the project forward. Lelack asked everyone to write down notes recalling past memories of Beloit and hopes for the future.

Lelack reminded those in attendance that at this early stage Beloit 2020 organizers want community members to first envision their city in the year 2020 and then construct their plan backward from that vision.

"To see where you have come from in the last 15 years should give you the wherewithal to make plans for the next 15 years," Lelack said.

Not until the vision has been firmly established will organizers begin to formulate a master plan or make any projections on costs.

Beloit 2020 collaborated with Schreiber Anderson on the RiverFront Project Concept Plan and is emboldened to take on another significant project.

Defined geographically by Sixth Street to the west, Henry Avenue to the north, Park Avenue to the east and Gardner Street in South Beloit, Lelack said organizers also see the city center for its potential as "a crossroads of the marketplace, ideas, culture and the exceptional."

The marketplace, he explained, takes into account the needs of the community and current trends that are drawing people nationwide back toward city centers and water views. A place-based economy builds on its resources and existing assets like the Rock River and Turtle and Lenigan creeks.

Lelack said the Beloit plan acknowledges statistics that indicate people, particularly young people, are seeking connection and recreation at the heart of their cities.

"The city center is a destination. It is not a collection of destinations. It is one great place in and of itself," he said.

The plan's framework focuses on the river, commitment to animation and renewal of the city center, an attempt to make connections with the community and the intent to build a positive identity.

As it sounds, animation, according to Lelack, means engaging residents through entertainment art and other recreation.

Renewal involves revitalizing depressed areas or buildings and diversifying housing options and the economy.

Key to creating a sense of connectedness, he said, would be strategically designed infrastructure that allows people easy access to all parts of the city center. Laying out the space would require a creative juxtaposition of open areas to walkable and compact spaces of bustling city activity.

A completed city center would involve the interests of several stakeholders already poised to begin their own projects in various areas of the city, such as the city's River Bend residential site, the Beloit Mall and Beloit College's plan to integrate its campus into the community.

Lelack said Beloit 2020 has worked and will continue to work with those parties in unifying their goals.

"There are a lot of plans on the table right now. In five to 10 years, Beloit could be a completely different place," he said.

In order to manage the extensive city center development, the organizers divided the city center into seven proposed districts (see accompanying map), though the names of the districts and development details have not been finalized, awaiting input from stakeholders.

The Grand Parkway District would follow the bank of the river as sort of a central parkway or boulevard, linking the neighborhoods to the parks and natural areas.

The Shore District, north of Beloit Memorial High School on the west side of the river, would focus activity on Maple Avenue with bike and pedestrian walkways and possible riverfront housing.

Plans for the Eclipse District include expansion of urban living options and growth of business activity. The Eclipse District contains the Beloit Mall and suggestions for the space include redeveloping it for mixed-use purposes.

The College Park District plan would fit in with Beloit College's own plans to improve connections to the city. In addition to building a new science center, the college is also working to make the campus more pedestrian-friendly and open to the outside.

With visions of entertainment, shopping, dining and arts, the Grand Avenue District would be considered the animation focal point. The district is seen as the core of activity because the river passes through it and all roads lead to Grand Avenue. It would be a main site for river access.

The Turtle Creek District is a slender space below the Grand Avenue District, seen as a good place for mixed-use buildings with convenient access to shopping and dining.

Renewal efforts would focus on the Blackhawk Business District near Gardner Street in South Beloit. Attention would be paid the intersection of Gardner Street and Blackhawk Boulevard with the intent of turning it into a business district for South Beloit.

The Iron Works District situated to the west of the river could have retail shopping and be key in enhancing employment in the city center. It would also be an artistic public gathering place.

Beloit Memorial High School would be a district on its own, with the city giving it much attention as a fundamental asset to the community. Plans for this district include a walkable campus and high quality activity spaces.

279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Beloit has been on a major roll lately, largely becaus ethe college is booming, as well as soon-to-be billionaire Hendricks is splashing money around. The following is about the colleges upcoming 30 million dollar science facility. An increase of 300 students at Beloit College means an increase of 300 young downtown residents from every state and like 40 countries. Beloit is poised to become quite the hip small city.

College plans bode well for Beloit

Beloit has endured its share of economic lumps in recent years. So it was great news last week when Beloit College officials unveiled expansion plans.

City and college officials have been working together on the plans, but the package was formally presented to the public for the first time during a city council meeting.

Plans call for investing tens of millions of dollars into buildings and grounds in the next five years. The centerpiece will be a new $30 million science building. The 102,000-square-foot building could start rising next year on Emerson Street, facing the Rock River.

The plans aim to make the college more open to the community while closing some streets that cut through the 40-acre campus. The streets tend to isolate parts of the campus, and limiting them to pedestrian traffic will help unite the campus, according to the college's master plan.

The private college has been around for 159 years, but the last time a new building rose was Neese Theatre in 1972. Fund raising has started behind the scenes and will go public this fall.

The college has been grappling with record enrollments, balancing that against questions about how big a school it wants to become. The latter is important. The quaintness seems to be part of the draw. If the college keeps growing too quickly, it may suddenly lack that attractive small, comfortable feeling.

Already, surging enrollment has squeezed student housing. The last master plan, written 10 years ago, projected growth to increase from around 1,000 students to 1,250 by next year. But enrollment last fall already stood at 1,279, and officials expect a record number of applicants this fall.

To handle extra housing needs, the college converted former lounges in residence halls to rooms and built "townhouse" apartments. It expects to build more apartments this summer.

We're confident the current plans won't stretch the growth too far. They also bolster Beloit's economy, particularly downtown redevelopment efforts.

Some city residents see Beloit College as elite, a place for the rich that doesn't interact with the community. But that impression belies the facts. Nearly 90 percent of students need financial aid to attend. The college's bookstore opened downtown in 2001. Last fall, the Center for Excellence in Liberal Education and Business opened downtown. The college has been a good neighbor, refurbishing the Victorian-era homes it owns and offering diverse cultural activities free to the public.

John Nicholas, vice president for administration, is among those deserving credit for pushing such efforts. He plans to continue encouraging students to embrace Beloit's downtown.

City and college officials must work out some details of the expansion plan. But, as city council President Terrance Monahan said last week, "Generally speaking, what's good for the college is good for the city."

And good for all of Rock County.

279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you knew the city, you'd understand. The areas are all very distinct already, one is a New England style college, the other is a refurbished factory, another one is a park/lagoon, and another is a turn of the century commercial district.

Beloit packs quite a little punch.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.