Workshop No. 1

Downtown

From Thursday, November 9th to Saturday, November 11th, the Planning Department hosted the first public design workshop for the Town Center Study at the McKinney Performing Arts Center. This first workshop was interactive and hands-on for the approximately 50 participants who attended. The workshop focused on the downtown core and the immediate surrounding area.


Thursday Session

After brief opening remarks by Councilman Thad Helsley, the Thursday session began with an informative and inspiring presentation from the lead consultant. Then, the participants were broken out into four groups, with each group being facilitated by a different consultant team. Over the course of the evening, each facilitator led his group through a series of brainstorming/visioning exercises and a discussion of ideas about how they would like the downtown core and periphery to look and feel in 10 to 20 years. Each facilitator followed a process that allowed every person in each group to voice their ideas. With the support of the facilitator, the recorder and the illustrator, each group respectfully considered opposing viewpoints and identified commonly shared ideas.


Friday Session

On Friday, each consultant design team assembled in a “Design Studio” that was set up in Council Chambers. Each design team compiled and reviewed the input gathered during the previous evening. Then, each design team designed and created preliminary drawings and illustrations that reflected the ideas and concepts generated by that input. For a short time on Friday afternoon, the Design Studio was opened to the public, and participants were invited to wander through Council Chambers to explore the design process, look at what the consultants were doing and engage the consultants in discussion.


Saturday Session

On Saturday morning, the participants returned to the Council Chambers to meet briefly with their group for a recap of the ideas and concepts generated on Thursday and to see the preliminary illustrations produced by the design team during the Design Studio. Then, each group presented its illustrations and explained the associated ideas and concepts to all of the participants at the workshop. During the group presentations, the consultants facilitated some Q&A while also helping to identify key concepts and themes on which to build consensus for a vision and a framework for a preferred option.


Post-Workshop Activities

In the weeks following the first workshop, the lead consultant team, under the guidance of City Planning Staff, developed an illustrative plan to visually represent the preferred concepts as well as a written narrative to summarize the main ideas. City Planning Staff provided a briefing of the first workshop (and the preferred concepts) to a joint work session of City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission on March 19, 2007.


Following the first public design workshop, the Town Center Study received significant media attention with articles published in the McKinney Courier-Gazette and the Dallas Business Journal.


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