Residents and business people alike are invited to a Creative Placemaking meeting scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, November 8 at the Olde Town Mill, 8 Mill Street, New London. The meeting will continue to develop the ideas borne out of a Creative Placemaking Workshop held October 18th at the Winthrop School.
The October 18th workshop, sponsored by New London Landmarks, attracted an enthusiastic crowd of about 40 people.
Art Costa presented the results of a survey on Hodges Square and the surrounding area. Afterwards, a workshop ensued of small groups discussing the assets and possibilities of Hodges Square.
Recognizing the end goal was a master plan for the area, residents and business people who attended agreed to meet monthly, and the November 8th meeting at Olde Town Mill is the first one. Meetings will continue into the spring.
Key strengths of the area include Riverside Park, the Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut College and the Lyman Allyn Museum, Costa told the group.
One major topic of the workshop responded to the duality of Hodges Square – which possesses a major asset as a throughway to Route 32 and Interstate 95, which makes it highly visible.
Participants thought its location could be capitalized upon by having people slow down and perhaps visit local businesses. The key question was how to encourage the traffic to take a second look and linger, while at the same time not discouraging people from still using it as a throughway.
Some of the suggestions from the workshop which will continue to be explored include traffic calming, better lighting, branding a distinct identity for the area as well as signage, local transit, ethnic restaurants and even a fresh food market, or concerts at Riverside Park.