Milton Councillors Approve Public Square Plans for Downtown Milton

Published September 7, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Changes could be in store for Milton’s downtown core. 

Changes could be in store for Milton’s downtown core. 

As it was it was reported by, Milton town councillors recently approved the concept plans for downtown Milton as part of the Downtown Milton Civic Precinct Project.

The project identifies the way forward for a town-initiated revitalization project on town-owned lands east of Brown Street, between Main and Mary.

As you can see from this map below, the designated sites are currently parking lots.

Milton’s “downtown” has been historically identified with the following boundaries.

Council was presented with this report which outlined the lands in question as well as concept designs for the precinct, and we also previously covered the downtown concept idea which is part of an overall downtown revitalization strategy.

In the report, staff’s recommendation was to proceed with a design-bid-build delivery model for construction of office space, retail, parking, and civic placemaking for a number of reasons:

  • Model demonstrates the leadership role and commitment to the downtown through “acting as a catalyst for investment.”

  • Provides control to the town over the construction of civic-placemaking spaces and amenities.

  • Meeting both short-term and long-term on-site administrative space requirements.

  • Ensures necessary parking is built out in a manner which maximizes the highest and best use of town-owned sites.

The following were identified as the objectives in relation to civic placemaking for Milton:

  • Civic Presence as an Anchor in the Downtown: having Town Hall within the downtown is a key asset that can be used as a building block supporting the revitalization of the downtown. Milton has the opportunity to expand the importance of the civic presence as an anchor within the downtown beyond the Town Hall and Victoria Park Square by moving forward with redevelopment options within the Civic Precinct.

  • Building on the Existing Heritage: there are both significant built heritage resources as well as significant history evident in the downtown core which need to be celebrated and enhanced.

  • Create a Vibrant Public Realm: a more diverse range of land uses will contribute to a distinct sense of identity, vibrancy and economic viability. Providing for the proper land uses in optimal locations is a critical step as the downtown evolves. An engaging, interactive public realm has intangible benefits to the community since it creates an environment that invites people throughout all seasons and times of day.

  • Have a Pedestrian Friendly, Interactive Community: having a distinct sense of identity created by pedestrian friendly streetscapes and human-scaled built form are important to the achievement of a vibrant downtown.

  • Place Making for the Entire Community: a missing ingredient of the downtown that was identified in public engagement efforts is a civic gathering space, which often serves as an anchor for a variety of year-round activities.

Because a majority of the “opportunity lands” are town owned, Milton was capable of being more flexible when it comes to implementing the plan for downtown.

Those “opportunity lands” were identified in this map:

Further studies of Milton’s downtown concluded that there is opportunity for improvement as it is a healthy downtown comparable to other municipalities of similar size. The growth potential includes an additional:

  • 100-200 jobs

  • 25,000-50,000 square feet of office space

  • 100-200 high density residential housing units accommodating a population of 150-300.

  • 4,000-8,000 square feet of new retail or service commercial space

There were other renditions of proposed land use options.

Traffic and parking issues were also clearly identified through the engagement process. Concerns about traffic generation and how to address parking when bringing more living, working and playing in the downtown figured prominently in many of the comments received.

These concerns will need to be addressed when Milton further considers specific development applications, and through an on-going parking study.

In conclusion, the main themes that were identified through the downtown study process include but are not limited to:

  • The importance of creating a pedestrian friendly and inviting downtown

  • The need for an adaptable mix of uses supporting the downtown long-term

  • Traffic management

  • Parking sufficiency

  • Heritage preservation and o attracting people to live, work and visit by creating a lively downtown with an appealing range of activities and sights

For more information on future plans for downtown Milton, click here.

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