Sunday, December 10, 2023

Azle City Council holds second public workshop for creation of new comprehensive master plan

Planning ahead


AZLE — What does Azle want to be in 20 years? That’s the question city officials are asking residents.

On Oct. 12, Azle City Hall hosted its second public workshop for the creation of city’s upcoming comprehensive master plan. The initiative, dubbed Azle 2045: On the Horizon, will take effect in 2025 and will create a framework for the city’s growth and development for the next 20 years. Over the next year, the city plans to host several events allowing citizens to give input and contribute to the upcoming plan. The first public workshop took place during Music in the Park on June 23 and served as an opportunity for the city to promote a survey gauging community interest in different aspects of the city’s development.

The results of the survey indicated that lake access, community recreation, the growth of commercial corridors and Azle’s downtown area are some of the highest priorities for residents. Grapevine is the most selected option for which area Azle should emulate to create a vibrant downtown. For seniors and adults, other top issues are walkability, accessibility and the addition of new sidewalks and trails. The top two priorities for youth participants are educational and entertainment opportunities.

During the Oct. 12 workshop, the city presented results from the survey, gave citizens the opportunity to vote on six different plan priorities using colorful chips, and allowed participants to leave feedback on a number of issues posted throughout the boardroom. Representatives from Halff Associates Inc., a Fort Worth area consulting firm, were present to provide instruction and collect feedback from those present.

Community character, economic development, parks and recreation, natural environment, multi-modal mobility and accessibility, roadway network and transportation were the topics used in the voting activity. The city and Halff also unveiled a potential vision statement to outline the community goals and expectations going forward.

“Azle envisions a journey of excellence over the next 20 years, merging small-town warmth with responsible progress,” the statement read. “We’re dedicated to responsible growth, enhancing our parks, and expanding retail opportunities. Our commitment is to ensure a high quality of life for all residents in our tight-knit community.”

In response, one sticky note left by an Azle resident said the vision statement is “too general” and could apply to hundreds of small towns in Texas. The resident asked what might make Azle stand out and who the city is looking to attract.

As part of the planning process, Azle City Council has recently visited other nearby cities to see and grade which features of their downtown and main street areas may work for our community.

“When we went, we were looking for things that don’t normally come to mind, like how wide the sidewalks are, trees, and safeguards for pedestrians.” councilmember Stacy Peek said. “I’ve gone to Roanoke for dinner before, but I was never looking to see how wide and accessible their sidewalks were. We really walked into it with a different set of eyes than what you normally would. We really loved (Grapevine, Roanoke, and Coppell.) We could take a little bit of Roanoke and a little bit of Grapevine, mix it together for our street. To me, the idea is people from other areas coming down here for a day-cation. They come down here for a day, go down Main Street, find some place to sit down and eat, then they shop some more.”

The third public workshop will be scheduled sometime later this fall, and an adoption hearing will be held in spring 2024.

Other feedback and priorities left by azle residents

  • “What will make Azle distinctly innovative?”
  • “Developing Main Street. Plans to include pedestrian walkway, cafes with outdoor seating, parking, dedicated bike lanes, saving historic buildings, lighting, murals, artwork, large planters.”
  • “Zoning for mixed use commercial on ground floor and above in same building. Have a reason to come to Main Street at night.”

zach freeman