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What's In a Name?

Area known as Woodbridge Flats will get a new life and name

The Woodbridge Economic Development Commission is looking for input from the business community at an an outreach breakfast Thursday morning. At the gathering, Yale Professor of Architecture and Urbanism Alan Plattus will present a plan to business and property owners that focuses on short-term and long-term improvements to the commercial area of town that is known as the Woodbridge Flats. 

As part of putting the plan into effect, the area will be named and advertised as a destination for shopping, dining and strolling. The EDC is  considering Woodbridge Village, Woodbridge Town District and Woodbridge Flats District.

The group has been working with the Yale Urban Design Workshop since 2008 to develop ways to improve and develop the area of town most know as The Flats. Part of the process is giving the area a ‘name’ that residents can identify with and that will draw visitors. The term 'Woodbridge Flats' falls flat to some Woodbridge residents who say the nickname is a deragatory term and prefer it not be used to promote the area.

The EDC will is asking business owners for their input at an April 26 breakfast meeting.The plan right now is called the Gateway District Development Concept Plan, but members of the Commission wish to see the name changed.

The report revealed a poor streetscape leading to a generally unattractive retail environment, the need for ‘local traffic calming,’ and an overabundance of auto-related uses in the southern Woodbridge region. The recommendations of the study include encouraging the development of a lively, mixed-use, pedestrian friendly and attractive commercial and residential center serving the residents of Woodbridge and visitors.

The EDC will be charged with developing policies and programs to create incentives for property owners to improve existing sites, facades, signage, etc. and also to add commercial and residential space to existing properties in the interest of creating greater density to support the pedestrian-oriented mixed-used district.

Tax incentives for people who make investment in their property are being considered.

The outreach meeting takes place at Scoop This! from 7:30 to 9 Thursday morning. Plattus will present highlights of the plan and the EDC wlll consider comments from those in attendance before finalizing the plan.

E.B. WALSH April 24, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Maybe the focus should be on starting the improvements process the professor advocates and making the area what it is dreamed to be, then letting the rest follow. Input and concensous are great, but unless times have really changed, I recall hearing a statistic that over 80% of the merchants don't actually live in the community, so why the opinion of folks without long term skin in the game means a whole lot, makes me wonder. The opinions of taxpayers and the building owners would be worth hearing.

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