Download a copy of the Wetumpka Downtown Redevelopment Plan that was revealed on 4-26-12:
Draft of downtown development plan unveiled
As reprinted from The Wetumpka Herald
Peggy Blackburn - Managing Editor | Posted: Monday, April 30, 2012 4:00 am
Those attending a meeting Thursday night to view the first draft of the new Wetumpka Downtown and Riverfront Development Plan were supplied with an abundance of information. Representatives of Sasaki Associates, an internationally recognized planning company, addressed a variety of elements involved in the planning process.
“This is an exciting time,” said Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis.
Topics included community feedback, market/economics, study area analysis, market opportunities, development framework and catalyst projects. Five committees comprised of local residents were involved in providing input relative to the emerging plan – history and context, business district, riverfront, economic expansion and catalyst projects.
Some of the recommendations made were:
History and context - parking for people who will drive, park and then walk; walking safety; informational signs to connect Wetumpka’s history and heritage to what people want to see; marker/gateway signage noting downtown, Gold Star Park, etc.; and basic services such as restaurants, restroom, parking and retail.
Business district - encourage people to shop at local businesses; signage to lure pass-through traffic; identify key buildings for redevelopment; and link downtown to public events
Riverfront - riverbank stabilization and cleaning; repairs to walkways and bridges; dock accessibility; riverfront restaurant and entertainment; consideration of zoning for future use; and an amphitheater.
Economic expansion - connect city and county civic areas; city provide assistance in new business development; and make improvements to streetscapes, other civic property and infrastructure.
Catalyst projects - hotel/lodging with connection to civic center; entertainment venue, amphitheater and restaurants on the riverfront; and leverage private opportunities, i.e., the Poarch Creek development.
The marketing and economic studies and analysis provided statistics in several areas, including 20-year projected population and job growth. Also emphasized was the $253 million in purchases that citizens make outside Elmore County. According to Sasaki, $140 million of that total is spent on goods and services.
The framework for growth presented by the planning team suggests: concentrate growth, define the gateways, enhance the arrival experience, celebrate the Coosa, create a destination and tie it all together.
Suggested catalyst projects include: residential infill above commercial; offices; retail/shopping; dining; hotel/bed and breakfast; infill opportunity sites; entertainment center/ amphitheater; marina / boat launch amenity; corridor improvements; streetscape improvements and bike paths.
“I know this is a lot to take in,” said Barry Mask, director of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority.
Other catalyst ideas to discussed were: building the proposed crater center on U.S. Highway 231 just above town instead of at the former rest area site; possible installation of lighting to spotlight the Bibb Graves Bridge; and installation of directional signs to draw people into the downtown area.
Mask said all material presented Thursday was part of Phase 1 of the planning process. He noted that the next meeting will be in late May and incorporate feedback received about the draft plan.
The complete draft is available online. Search for Wetumpka Downtown & Riverfront Development Plan on Facebook .
The City of Wetumpka contracted with ECEDA in mid-2011 to be the project manager of an effort to determine possibilities for revitalization in the downtown and riverfront areas of the city. Sasaki Asso ciates was retained to develop the plan. Information, ideas and opinions from various sources are being used to fuel the effort.
The cost of researching and developing the plan totals $150,000, with $75,000 paid to ECEDA in the fiscal year just ended and the remainder to be paid in the current fiscal year.
Wind Creek Wetumpka to be fully operational by New Year's 2014
Wind Creek Wetumpka
Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:30 am | Updated: 6:10 pm, Wed Jul 11, 2012.
Wind Creek Wetumpka to be fully operational by New Year's 2014 Peggy Blackburn - Managing Editor thewetumpkaherald.com | 0 comments
Poarch Creek Indians announced Wednesday the 20-story Wind Creek Wetumpka Hotel scheduled to open fully by New Year's 2014. It will have 285 rooms. Part of the hotel/casino will be open by Oct. 2013. It is a $246 million project.
The hotel/casino will have up to 2,500 gaming machines.
The present casino in Wetumpka has 400 full-time employees. By the time the hotel/casino is fully operational, it will have 1,000 full-time employees.
Included in the hotel/casino will be a grille and a fine dining restaurant.
All suites at the hotel will also face the nearby Coosa River.
The current parking deck on site right now accommodates 500 cars. The deck will expand to 2,500 by the time the expansion is complete.
As of Wednesday, when ground was broken, 1,200 construction workers will be on the site until the expansion is completed.