Village officials want a vision for the future of Downtown Mahomet

Downtown Mahomet could see vast improvements next year should the board of trustees approve a $45,000 contract later this month. The village seeks a new vision for its downtown with the help of a professional consultant.

Last Friday was the deadline for professional consultants to meet the village's goals laid out in its request for proposals for a Downtown Master Plan.

"We received multiple submittals," said Kelly Pfeifer, community development director.

Pfeifer said a selection committee will score each of the submitted plans and rank it in accordance with the village's desired five themes.

The first of those is increasing gathering spaces and entertainment in downtown. Planning consultants will suggest their visions for overall improvements to place-making in downtown with enhancements made to the aesthetic and streetscape.

The village hopes the plan will address downtown's parking limitations. Another large hurdle for professional consultants to face is the third theme's request to examine downtown's mixed-use developments and redevelopments to increase in opportunities for commercial uses.

The problem with Mahomet's downtown, according to Pfeifer, is that "it's not a blank slate."

"In an area already developed like downtown, it has a mix of uses and has been platted a very long time ago." Pfeifer said. "It takes a very specific plan to enable us to efficiently and effectively foster growth and development in this one core area that needs its own identity."

Finally, consultants will be tasked with exploring viable commercial uses in downtown, which seems to be the ultimate driving force behind each of the themes.

"It is our goal to complement our successful efforts within the east Mahomet commercial district with an equally as important plan that will begin to lay the foundation of rebuilding our commercial core," Village President Sean Widener said. "The Downtown Master Plan will serve as the first building block with a renewed focus of our downtown area."

Committee members reviewing the submittals are village personnel, including Widener, village administrator Patrick Brown, Pfeifer, economic development commission member Kyle Jordan and Mahomet Parks and Recreation Department director Dan Waldinger.

The committee will meet next week to review and score the submittals. Pfeifer expects the committee to make a recommendation for the board of trustees. Shortly thereafter, board members are expected to award a contract by Oct. 23. A draft plan presentation is targeted for Jan. 29, and the village has a tentative project completion date set for Feb. 26.

The village will count on the creation of a TIF District in Downtown Mahomet and the Eastwood Center areas to further its plans to drive commercial businesses to the area.

"The village of Mahomet is growing and with that comes the challenge of providing goods and services for our residents," Widener said. "Much like the Route 150 corridor, planning for these demands starts with a vision."

To view the RFP for a Downtown Master Plan, visit the village's website (mahomet-il.gov) or call 217-586-4456.

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