Traverse City, MI, is the kind of success story we really like to hear about at the National Charrette Institute at MSU.
In 2015, Russell Soyring, the Traverse City planning director; and John Sych, the Grand Traverse County planning director, took the NCI Charrette System training in Lansing.
Their reason for taking the course was to prepare for a series of charrettes following the City’s adoption of a Corridor Master Plan. The 8th Street Corridor was the first project scheduled for improvements.
After the training, Soyring and Sych contacted NCI seeking advice on how to create a replicable process for doing the series of corridor charrettes. They engaged NCI to teach them how to conduct a Co-Writing Intensive workshop to assess and organize the project for a Request for Proposals (RFP).
Participating in the 1.5-day workshop were City and County planning and transportation staff, along with a member of the project steering committee.
The team completed a series of assessment and organization exercises under the guidance of NCI faculty member Bill Lennertz. Their work began with high-level guiding principles leading to a detailed project process roadmap. The result was an agreed upon project purpose, stakeholder engagement strategy, scope of work, schedule and estimated budget.
This information was fed into the NCI Charrette RFP Template (a free resource) to develop the language for the 8th Street Corridor Charrette RFP.
Following the Intensive, the RFP was sent through legal. It hit the street two weeks later. The team received five proposals from qualified firms, all within $10,000 of each other. Here is what Soyring and Sych had to say about the process:
“The RFP you helped us write resulted in proposals that were easy to compare, apples to apples. Spending the time up front on the RFP certainly made a big difference in starting this process.”
The Chicago architectural firm of Farr Associates was hired to lead the project. The resulting fived-day charrette successfully engaged the community in co-creating a vision, plan and form-based code for 8th Street.
Soyring reported that during the charrette “one person who came just to see the biased process . . . was surprised to see that we really wanted public input, and that the final design reflected what the public wanted to see. She is now a big supporter for the project.”
To learn more visit the project, visit Envision 8th.
The project has been approved in the City’s six-year Capital Improvement Plan and will be implemented in phases over the next four years. The team plans on repeating the process as it moves forward to plan the remaining corridors under the Master Plan.
To learn how NCI can set your team up for success, visit NCI RFP Co-Writing Intensive workshop.