Connecting Assets in Vicksburg, MI Executive Summary and PosterDOWNLOAD
June 14, 2020 - Author: Aman Pannu, Carley Gruzin, Cliff Ko, Dana Dake and ShumouGuo, Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s Planning Practicum is a course designed for undergraduate seniors and graduate Urban and Regional Planning students. The purpose of the course is to engage the students in a real-life project while providing a municipality, private company or non-profit client with a report, poster and presentation to achieve a planning goal. The course builds upon all previous planning courses and expands the accumulated knowledge further.
The practicum team worked with Paper City Development LLC and the Village of Vicksburg to enhance connectivity within the village. The purpose of this project is to identify assets within the Village of Vicksburg and make recommendations that will enhance non-motorized connectivity by applying placemaking concepts for a new non-motorized path that strategically connects village assets. Moreover, this report has involved the Village of Vicksburg residents in the non-motorized pathway planning processes and recommends additional future public participation.
The report highlights Vicksburg’s community profile and suggests recommendations built upon the existing master plan goals, current zoning, and land use. The village’s existing conditions are evaluated through a socio-economic profile analysis and a retail gap analysis, and the village assets are grouped into four nodes based on responses from the Vicksburg Community Survey and the Stakeholder Survey conducted in February 2020. The Vicksburg Community Survey was posted on the Village of Vicksburg Facebook page and collected 100 responses from residents in 2 weeks. The Stakeholder Survey identified strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities within the Village. The practicum team received 5 responses for the Vicksburg Stakeholder Survey from village representatives and members of The Mill. Planning recommendations for the non-motorized path are based on a methodology that evaluates the existing conditions of Vicksburg, stakeholder and community input, and a series of case studies of successful non-motorized paths used to create a sense of place in similar communities.
It was discovered through the Stakeholder Survey that the strengths of the community include the small businesses, historic buildings and an involved community. The Community Survey identified the most important aspects of Vicksburg to be the downtown area, the small-town atmosphere, and the proximity to Kalamazoo. The survey also reveals that the community would like a vibrant downtown, enhanced parks, and increased connectivity. Furthermore, Vicksburg residents currently report a high probability of using a future non-motorized path. Based on qualitative and quantitative research, the practicum team recommends constructing a nonmotorized path that connects four asset nodes within the village. These include the core downtown area, the Historic Village, The Mill, and the Business Park. The proposed non-motorized path will be designed for bicyclists, pedestrians and will be handicap accessible. In this report, the proposed path is referred to as the Vicksburg Trail and will connect to the existing trail that runs north of the village. The proposed Vicksburg Trail includes forms of placemaking such as wayfinding signs that incorporate a defined logo and are strategically placed along the path. The proposed path will also increase foot traffic and create economic opportunity for Vicksburg’s small businesses. The enhanced connectivity will improve non-motorized travel for village residents while offering a regional asset that draws in visitors from the surrounding areas.