A City with a broad mix of uses and a diverse local economy that provide opportunities for business, industry, and innovation while invigorating and reinforcing a dynamic downtown and supporting the community and its neighborhoods.
Forge Diverse Commerce Through Diverse Design
Establish downtown zoning districts that encourage innovative design, unique cultural expression, and financially-sound business incubation through relaxed use regulations, encouraging creative architectural expression, and with strong collaboration with citizens, the private development community, and local foundations.
Utilize Existing Infrastructure
Strongly encourage development and redevelopment in areas that are already developed, where infrastructure is already in place, where land is not meeting its highest and best use, and in areas that may be eligible for redevelopment tax credits.
Prepare Ready to Develop Sites
Collaborate with private developers, architects, and key stakeholders to create “ready to develop” sites that can quickly respond to ever-changing market demand. These sites should be acquired and made ready to develop through public-private partnerships and held by the City until the market is ready to create a financially-sound development that enhances the overall goals of this plan AND improves and enhances the public realm.
Build a Farmers’ Market
To diversify the local economy, pursue partnerships and collaborations between citizens, landowners, foundations, and other stakeholders to build a downtown farmers’ market. Consider constructing a building as part of the market in order to promote year-round operation. Use the market parking lot as a shared parking facility for the rest of downtown during non-peak market hours.
Remove Negative Parking Perceptions
Explore options to buy and maintain public parking lots as a means to incentivize redevelopment in the downtown. These public parking lots should be strategically placed within the downtown. Strategically placed City parking lots could remove private sector parking requirements, maximize land for redevelopment, encourage shared parking within the downtown (and thus incentivize mixed use buildings), limit the amount of space devoted to car storage, and provide visitors and residents with a level of security in regards to knowing where parking is located. In all cases of new downtown surface parking lots, the lots should not be visible from the street and instead be behind the buildings.
Decrease parking requirements in the downtown and allow on-street parking on all downtown streets. Less parking will encourage walkability and allow for development to maximize the site. On-street parking helps downtown businesses by providing quick, convenient parking in front of storefronts while also giving the sidewalk a safer perception for pedestrians.
Build Mixed Use
Specifically in the downtown, balance entertainment, dining, and specialty retail uses that are located in distinctive ground floor store fronts with a variety of residential housing options on the upper floors. Encourage this development pattern by expediting the permitting process, seeking grant funds that can help to support downtown development, and incentivizing existing businesses to relocate or expand into the new storefronts.
Encourage “Lighter, Quicker, and Cheaper” solutions that allow entrepreneurs to make smaller investments, manage risk, test and refine innovative business models, and better respond to customers and the market. These tactical solutions include allowing for the strategic placement of food trucks (that can sometimes ultimately lead to “real bricks and mortar” restaurants), encouraging “pop-up” shops in empty or underutilized storefronts, and permitting (and encouraging) the construction of small stores that can be added onto as the business evolves (for instance, initially building a 500 or 1,000 square foot store instead of a 15,000 square foot store).
Monitor Suburban Development
Keep apprised of development in surrounding and adjacent areas (including highway commercial development in Hudsonville) that could threaten the redevelopment of Hudsonville’s downtown. Pro-actively and collaboratively work with developers and adjoining municipalities to monitor competitive balance of economic development.
Create a Retail Strategy
Develop and market a retail strategy for downtown business that promotes the attraction and retention of commerce that enhances the small town image, has synergy with other businesses (and promotes cross-shopping), and balances destination shopping with specialty shops and restaurants.