Survey Says: Better Sidewalks, More Restaurants for Stevensville

Residents of, and interested visitors to, the Village of Stevensville would seriously like to see more restaurants and other retail options in their downtown district, and they’d like to be able to walk on a better network of sidewalks community-wide in order to get to them. Those were the highest priorities uncovered in a public survey conducted last fall by the Village Council, and now they’re once again inviting further feedback on the community’s Master Plan currently undergoing an update.

Ryan Fellows is an Associate Planner for the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, and he wants you to take a look at the results of the survey alongside the Village Council and to pore over the draft Master Plan that has been assembled in response, thus far, to the input.

A master plan, for those unfamiliar with the concept, is a long-range planning tool used to define the Village’s vision, goals, and objectives. An effective plan accurately communicates citizen needs and desires about the community, and recommends specific strategies to achieve the future vision.

Last October we shared with you here on Moody on the Market a link to the survey instrument the Village was using to get public feedback on what they’d like to see done to make the Village of Stevensville a better place to live, work, play, shop and dine. Fellows report, which was delivered to the Village Council this week, shows that 132 people took the opportunity to answer the survey questions.

The largest single item on the response list, as you can see for yourself by clicking through Fellows report at the link provided below, was the condition of sidewalks. People either wanted new ones installed where there are none, repairs made to existing ones, or some other variation on that concern.

The recent announcement of the forthcoming new Red Coach Donut shop to downtown will delight the next largest contingent of responders to the survey. They were the ones clamoring for additional restaurant options in the Village, with a response rate of 17-percent followed closely by the 16-percent of surveyed people in search of other new retail options in the community.

There’s a lot of information included in the nearly 150-page document, including what Fellows calls three major properties in the Village boundaries that are potentially ripe for development including:

  • A sizable plot of largely vacant land running along Red Arrow Highway that is currently owned by LECO Corporation. It’s roughly 44 acres in size.
  • A 2.4 acre parcel right on the periphery of the central business district that once housed the Anstey Foundary Company at 2788 Lawrence Drive. The business ended operations there 14 years ago in 2004.
  • The Village Square, once a bustling shopping center along John Beers Road that is partially leased, but with a number of vacant store fronts and office spaces within.

The public is invited to review the proposed Plan, which has printed copies available at Stevensville Village Hall, located at 5768 St. Joseph Avenue, across from Watermark Brewing, and it is available online at www.swmpc.org/stevensvillemp.asp, which is directly linked at the click through below.

http://www.swmpc.org/stevensvillemp.asp

The Village of Stevensville welcomes comments that they can be considered before the Plan is adopted. Comments on the Master Plan may be emailed to Ryan Fellows, Associate Planner, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission at fellowsr@swmpc.org, or mailed/delivered to Stevensville Village Hall, 5768 St. Joseph Avenue, Stevensville, Michigan 49127.

Public comments for the Master Plan will be received through May 15, 2018. The Village of Stevensville will hold a public hearing on the Master Plan at a date to be determined and notice published, estimated to be in May or June 2018, when the Plan may be adopted.

The proposed Plan is the result of months of work, with the Stevensville Planning Commission using results from the community survey and a subsequent public visioning session held to develop goals, objectives and action steps for the next five years on economic development, transportation and infrastructure, land use and housing, recreation, and governance. Attached and included with the Plan is the Stevensville Sidewalk Asset Management Plan, which addresses many of the sidewalk concerns voiced by survey respondents.

The Village is being assisted in updating their Master Plan by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, which uses transportation, environment, economic development and community planning with mapping/GIS expertise to serve Michigan’s Great Southwest  throughout Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties.