Possible Population Themes/Concepts Resulting from Focused Discussion #1

May 7, 2013

1. Market Gardiner as a great place to live – There were a lot of ideas around the concept that outside of the immediate area, Gardiner is something of an unknown quantity to people who are looking for a place to live and that Gardiner needs to market itself as a wonderful place to live.  There was a sense that the City promotes Gardiner as a place to do business but that little is done to promote Gardiner as a place to live.  A possible approach would be for the City/community to develop a comprehensive program to market Gardiner as a great place to live.  This could be an ongoing H&S project.  Here are some of the ideas that fit under this theme as possible activities:

  • Identify and promote the City’s assets (schools, downtown, walkable neighborhoods, inclusive, etc.) as a place to live on a separate portion of the City’s website that is easy to find and get to.  This should focus on diverse segments of the population – families with children, singles, empty-nesters, retirees.
  • Recruit “community ambassadors” who would provide testimonials about living in Gardiner that can be used as part of the marketing program.  These should be a diverse group including a range of ages as well as both longer-term residents and people who have recently chosen to move to Gardiner.
  • Establish a welcome committee that would be available to introduce people to the community.
  • Educate the regional real estate community about Gardiner and the advantages of living here.

2. Enhance/maintain the livability of existing residential neighborhoods – There was a sense that while Gardiner is seen as a good place to live and the older neighborhoods offer the opportunity for a livable, walkable lifestyle, there is a need for attention to these areas of the City to maintain and enhance their attractiveness especially for younger families.

  • Support the creation of neighborhood associations
  • Establish a neighborhood improvement program to provide loans and grants to homeowners to maintain/improve their homes
  • Maintain and enhance the sidewalk system linking these neighborhoods to activity centers
  • Improve access to recreational facilities
  • Create provisions for the reuse of large older buildings as multi-unit buildings as long as they maintain the character of the neighborhood (this might be tied to something like historic designation to provide a financial incentive)
  • Adopt and enforce a housing code for multifamily buildings
  • Support efforts by the Police Department to address nuisance situations with tenants
  • Improved internet service to support telecommuting and home occupations

3. Increase the range of housing options in the City – There were a number of suggestions that Gardiner needs to provide more housing opportunities to broaden its appeal as a place to live.  The focus was primarily on providing the opportunity for the creation of additional multifamily housing.  Some of the ideas that fit under this theme as possible activities include:

  • Revise the zoning requirements for residential units on the upper floors of downtown buildings
  • Consider allowing accessory apartments in single-family homes in addition to the current two-family provisions
  • Review the lot size and density requirements for new multifamily housing in serviced areas with public water and sewerage and whether townhouse style development should be treated differently than apartment buildings
  • Create provisions for the reuse of large older buildings as multi-unit buildings as long as they maintain the character of the neighborhood (this might be tied to something like historic designation to provide a financial incentive)
  • Consider special density provisions for age-restricted senior housing

4. Expand the range of activities and services in the community – There was some sense that although Gardiner is a good place to live there is a limited range of activities and services especially for families with children and young adults and 20/30 somethings.  This limitation detracts from Gardiner’s attractiveness as a place to live.  Here are some of the ideas that fit under this theme as possible activities:

  • Establish a program, possibly with incentives, for the operation of a laundramat in Gardiner
  • Provide organized activities through the Recreation Committee or other group for young adults
  • Work to attract additional food and beverage businesses to Downtown
  • Develop a skateboard park
  • Establish a youth center
  • Create a bike lane on Route 24