The meeting addressed part of the city's long-term development plan called the Midtown Area Development Plan, which includes city council districts 2, 4, 5 and 6, according to the area development plan drafted with the city.
District 4 city council representative Martin Heines was among the 15 people who attended the meeting.
“The plan is really focused on the need for all the entities, East Texas Medical Center, Trinity Mother Frances and the city of Tyler, to work together,” he said. “It's a very well thought-out plan.”
The plan, which was developed over the course of 18 months with consultant and resident input, calls for a range of developments, including owner-designated zoning changes, increased landscaping and pedestrian access and wide spread multi use areas that would encompass residential and business prospects. Plans to make changes to Lake Street and Fleishel Avenue are included as well, according to the plan.
Some of that, Heines said, is already in place with hospital offices scattered among residential areas. The idea is to provide a guide by which the district, branded as the medical district in the plan, to grow.
“It's about time we had a long-range plan for this district,” city planner Heather Nick, who presented the plan, said.
After Monday's meeting, the plan will be presented to the city zoning board for input and a recommendation, which will be considered by the city council in the near future.
“It's a number of techniques used to rebrand this district,” she said, emphasizing a logo for the area that incorporates elements of both the hospitals and the college's designs.
The plan lays out the current existing infrastructure and how land inside the 1.65 square-mile area be used in the future.
It's proposed that over the next two decades or so, all three institutions will feel the need to expand — Trinity Mother Frances and Tyler Junior College to the north and East Texas Medical Center to the south, Mrs. Nick said.
With both hospitals' major employers and regional providers in the region and a prospering junior college, Heines said keeping them from being strangled by a lack of growth opportunity is important.
“Being the largest economic engines in this area, we need to make sure we can adequately prepare for their future,” Heines said of the hospitals.
The images and graphics, developed by consultants working with the city to develop the plan, detail a more metropolitan and pedestrian-friendly area — with multi-story and multi-use buildings bordering Beckham that incorporate sidewalks, bicycle lanes and park-like landscaping. Redesigned streetlamps bearing a unique logo for the district, a lack of utility poles brought about by burying power lines, are intended to change the feel of the district.
Heines said more work has to be done by officials before Tyler residents and visitors will notice any changes, but he said he feels the city is on its way with a formal plan.
“You have to have that as a starting point,” he said of the designs for the area. “We have that.”
An entire copy of the 124-page report is available online at http://tinyurl.com/c5nhvnq.