City Council Work Session

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Meeting Date: 10/25/2022  
From: Amy Hagin, Assistant Parks and Recreation Director
Department: Parks Recreation Open Space Events  

Thorpe Park Annex Community Engagement Results and Discussion
Discuss and provide direction on the draft final concept for the redevelopment of the Thorpe Park Annex (old Public Works Yard).
Southwest Decision Resources (SDR), an independent, third-party facilitation group, was hired to lead the community engagement process for the development of a Design Concept for the Thorpe Park Annex (TPA). Wheat Design Group (Wheat) was sub-contracted for the project as they have immense expertise in using community input for landscape design. SDR and Wheat were brought on in September of 2021 and worked initially with a core team of City staff to develop a collaborative and inclusive process for community engagement. Communication and coordination among and between the planning/core team (SDR, Wheat and City of Flagstaff) was essential throughout the entirety of the process design, community engagement and final concept development.

The community engagement was divided into three phases: Listening and Learning, Conversations and Design, and Refinement and Approval.  The well-executed public engagement process resulted in two draft final concepts that the team believes best reflect community feedback. The only difference between the two concepts is the inclusion of an area for city employee housing, the only housing type that is allowed per zoning code (the area is currently zoned Public Facility (PF)). The team recognizes that the inclusion of housing is not consistent with Ordinance 425 that designated the area be used for park, recreation, or museum purposes. This will be a policy decision for the Council discussion. Staff anticipates that if Council provides direction to incorporate housing, a new series of public meetings would need to be scheduled regarding the existing ordinance.  

Additionally, the Thorpe Park Annex area was included in a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant in the 1970s and 1980s, which states that the project area must be maintained in the grant-funded condition in perpetuity. Any kind of housing, including city employee housing, would not be consistent with the grant language. However, there is a conversion process that staff can research with Arizona State Parks if Council direction is to move forward with Concept 1b, which has the city employee housing option.
Southwest Decision Resources will provide a report-out to the Council on the public engagement process including how feedback was collected, evaluated, and reflected in each iteration of the process. The two draft final concepts will be presented for  discussion and feedback from the Council, with the over-arching goal to identify and approve a final concept to adopt in November 2022.    

Vicinity Map
Concept 1
Concept 1b_with housing
SDR Report


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