Click the link below to download the latest update and summary of the Armory Subcommitte’s work. Thanks to all who have been participating on the subcommittee, posting comments to the web site, and participating in the public process.
Read this first. The comments and concepts presented on this web site are just that. Neighbors are in the creative/brainstorming phase at this point; not all suggestions will be realistic in terms of zoning, economics, or broader community needs.
We want to give everyone a voice, find areas of common interest and concern, then create a set of realistic priorities and recommendations that take into account issues like financing, traffic, market conditions, and most importantly local priorities and values.
A note about traffic. With the Armory sitting vacant for the past several years, any new activity will change traffic patterns in the vicinity. As fellow neighbors, we are committed to evaluating these impacts, some positive and some negative; to better understand the net traffic effects of different scenarios.
Our aim is to propose pedestrian-friendly uses that tend to reduce existing car trips where possible to balance out increases elsewhere, and to explore the type, speed and timing of traffic generated at this site.
The Urban Research and Design Center presented several conceptual drawings to a hardy group of residents who braved a snowstorm the evening of Thursday, January 24 at Roosevelt Elementary School. The visuals represented neighbor-recommended adaptive reuses for the Armory structure, as well as showing a variety of potential new construction ideas adjacent to the Armory. We enjoyed a vigorous discussion among the approximately 50 participants in attendance, who had a chance to discuss the various concepts with the students who created them.
The concepts include a mix of affordable, workforce and market-rate residential construction to complement mixed use of the historic Armory structure. Concepts derived from our initial public discussion on December 1 (scroll down to see minutes). You can visit the links below to view the conceptual drawings.
Preliminary Conceptual Plans Underway
Based on the discussions at the December 1 meeting, the Urban Research and Design Center is currently creating basic visual representations of the following basic schemes with variations:
- Armory as Public Market w/associated collaborative offices, classrooms, 2 acres of food production gardens, and housing.
- Armory as Charter School w/shared facilities (multipurpose areas); daycare; housing
- Mostly housing w/bit of mixed use
The designs will be conceptual site plans and site sections showing building heights and massing – not building designs or architectural details. The basic idea is to help visualize overall site buildout and scale relative to neighboring structures and landforms. Check back the week of 12/24 to view the preliminary sketches.
Thanks to Advisory Committee member Diane Ronayne for providing detailed minutes of our initial public meeting. Diane made use of her court-reporting and journalistic skills to recreate much of the discussion verbatim, or at least do some faithful paraphrasing. Download the .pdf file to experience the conversation for yourself.
First Public Meeting a Success
Thanks to everyone who attended our December 1 public visioning meeting at the UI Integrated Design Lab. The meeting was facilitated by the Urban Research and Design Center and EENA representatives, and involved a brief discussion of the Armory site, the City’s budget needs and the current plans to auction the site next year. Local architect Charles Hummel (above) provided a unique glimpse into the Armory’s history and construction. Approximately two dozen participants explored the following questions from the Architecture students:
- Do you consider the Armory a neighborhood asset or a community asset? (if so, why?)
- Should the armory building be saved in whole or in part?
- What uses would you like to see on the site?
- What would actually work on the site? What’s viable there?
The next public meeting will take place in January of 2008, and will feature conceptual drawings illustrating various types of development and repurposing. Minutes of the meeting should be available soon, and will be posted at this location.