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Several ideas for 2040 Downtown Lynchburg Master Plan

This chalk board was set up at the Academy Center of the Arts so people could write down their ideas. It reads "What needs to be improved in downtown?"

It's only 2017, but the Hill City is already planning for 2040. City leaders held a public meeting Wednesday night to hear from residents about what they would like to see implemented over the next 20 years downtown.

The packed meeting was held at the Academy Center for the Arts and they knew how to make it creative. Chalk boards were set up for people to write down ideas and markers were put out for people to write down what they love about Lynchburg.

“The priority needs to be on parking because we have a parking problem, which is a good problem to have since it is a result of a lot of activity,” downtown real estate owner, Gary Case said.

It's a concern city leaders are aware of. Right now the city is looking at a dozen new potential areas for parking lots.

“I think if we had, for example, more murals it would really bring out the fact that we are the downtown arts and cultural district that we are described to be, executive director Riverviews art space, Kim Soerensen.

Soerensen would also like to see updated signage for directions, places to visit and historical markings. She said many signs are 10 to 15 years old.

Others want to see The Riverwalk that was never implemented from the 2000 downtown master plan.

“Right now it is basically inaccessible,” The Water Dog Owner, Dave Henderson, said. “It feels like it is there, but we can't touch it. That feels like a shame.”

So many ideas, but what can we actually expect in the next 2-3 years?

The Lynchburg city planner says there are two projects they're focused on right now.

“Construction of the main street bridge, which is the gateway into downtown,” Lynchburg City planner, Tom Martin, said.

Martin said the main street bridge project is projected to start in October. The other project is to work on phase 3 of the 5th street corridor by Taylor Street. This phase is to put in more landscaping and a new water line. It’s set to start in November.

But when it comes to parking and other parts of the plan, Martin said those are still in the works and that is why they are holding these public meetings.

“We want a lot community input before we make any decisions,” Martin said.

Several addition meetings are being held Thursday. For more details, click here.

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