You Have a Voice in the New Master Plan for Downtown St. Joseph

It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to provide a direct voice to the future of your community’s central business district — the downtown. Next week, however, you do have the unique chance to deliver input to the people who are helping craft a new downtown master plan for the City of St. Joseph. Called St. Joseph Downtown Vision, the forthcoming new master plan is being established as a blueprint for improving the Downtown area.

The city and its contract agency for the project are hosting a Visioning Workshop next Thursday evening, April 25th, 2019 from 6 until 8pm at The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, located at 601 Main Street in the city. The event is open to the public for input, however if you are unable to attend the Workshop – you can visit the city’s website at and look for the logo for a new questionnaire that was posted earlier this month to provide your thoughts.

Meanwhile, to help define the scope of what the city is doing, a website is sharing a lot of background. Take a look:

What is a Downtown master plan?

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The St. Joseph Downtown Vision master plan will be a playbook to direct growth, investment, and development in the Downtown area over the next 10 years. The Plan will be supported by comprehensive public outreach conducted throughout the planning process. This will help to identify critical issues and opportunities that must be addressed, establish a vision for the Downtown, and guide the recommendations and policies of the final master plan. At its core, the planning process will aim to define the future of Downtown St. Joseph and outline the steps necessary to get there.

What area is being studied?

The St. Joseph Downtown Vision study area is defined on the map provided in the link below.

What are the contents of a Downtown master plan?

The St. Joseph Downtown Vision master plan must be a cohesive document that envisions the future of Downtown St. Joseph. However, the document itself will be composed of a variety of pieces that work together to create that collective vision. Items to be addressed include:

  • Community feedback and outreach
  • Demographic and market conditions
  • Vision, goals, and objectives
  • Land use and infill redevelopment
  • Commercial and mixed-use development
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Events, festivals, and civic gatherings
  • Parking and transportation
  • Pedestrian mobility and connectivity
  • Beautification, streetscape, and signage
  • Implementation

The St. Joseph Downtown master plan will provide City staff, elected and appointed officials, and other key decision-makers with the long-term vision of the Downtown area and the strategies and tools needed to achieve that vision.

Who is guiding the planning process for the Downtown master plan?

In March of 2018, the City Commission held a joint meeting with members of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Parks Advisory Board, Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals along with representatives from St. Joseph Today and the St. Joseph Improvement Association to discuss the future Downtown Vision and Master Plan.

Following this meeting the Downtown Plan Steering Committee began meeting monthly in March 2018.  This Committee consists of members from the City Commission, Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Parks Advisory Board, Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals along with representatives from the St. Joseph Today board, St. Joseph Improvement Association and members of the general public including two high school students. A total of eighteen voting members along with three alternates sit on the Steering Committee that oversees the planning process. It is believed this diverse group of individuals will help to promote the planning process while engaging the residents, business and property owners, and visitors. All recommendations are made to the City Commission.

Who is involved in creating the Downtown master plan?

It is critical that all of St. Joseph’s stakeholders are involved in the development of St. Joseph Downtown Vision. The City is committed to involving residents, visitors, business and property owners, employees, and other community stakeholders in the process in order to craft a common community vision for St. Joseph’s future. To learn about how you can become part of the process, visit the Get Involved page for details about in-person events and online tools. Ultimately, the Plan will be approved by the St. Joseph Planning Commission and adopted by City Commission.

We already have other plans. What will happen to those?

Existing plans are an important part of the  St. Joseph Downtown Vision master plan process. These Plans will inform  St. Joseph Downtown Vision, and in some cases will be incorporated into the plan if the goals and vision are still consistent with the community’s aspirations.

When will the planning process start and when will St. Joseph Downtown Vision be completed?

The planning process began in October 2018 and is estimated to be completed by the end of 2019.

How can I get involved in the process?

It is important to get involved in all the St. Joseph Downtown Vision activities, from data collection, to Downtown visioning and mapping, to creation of Downtown goals and objectives. The Get Involved page of this website describes all the opportunities available to give your input, including public meetings, online surveys and questionnaires, and an interactive mapping tool. The News & Updates page will list meeting dates and times throughout the process as they are scheduled. Finally, materials from meetings and more information detailing the St. Joseph Downtown Vision master plan process can be found on the Documents page.

Here’s a link to the master plan process website: