Shops, recreation, boardwalk are among highlights of 17 proposals for downtown Milton’s future

Published on August 14, 2013 with No Comments

The Blackwater River Plan offers 17 specific developments and redevelopments for downtown Milton as part of its effort to increase public use of the area.

The current Santa Rosa Courthouse would be transformed into a major Arts and Culture Centre that could host theater performances, artist studios and numerous other activities. The aging courthouse is outdated and crowded; county commissioners are seeking ways to build a new courthouse in a different location.

A new Civic Center complex could be built nearby for several uses: City Hall, public library, indoor recreation facilities, perhaps also as a satellite campus for the University of West Florida or Pensacola State College. With such varied uses, the Civic Center would bring many people downtown.

On Caroline Street, a new Blackwater Theater would allow more performing arts and solidify Milton’s “theater district” with the Imogene Theatre and the Arts and Culture Centre.

A new hotel could be built at the corner of Willing and Broad streets, offering quality accommodations for the area. It can be designed to maximize the view of the Blackwater River.

There’s a new and more cheerful life in store for the Santa Rosa County Probation Department building at the corner of Canal and Caroline streets. The plan envisions that space being used as a Visitor Welcome Center that greets tourists and serves as a friendly gateway to downtown Milton.

The Riverfront Village Marina would be built south of the railroad tracks on the former concrete plan property. It could include a full-service marina, tour boats and shops. The city already is making plans to eventually replace the nearby wastewater treatment plant.

The Blackwater Walk would extend the existing Riverwalk to Marina Circle, but this wouldn’t be just more of the same boardwalk. The new boardwalk would “skim” across the water’s surface and offer seating areas and connections to Monroe, Madison and Ravine streets. The boardwalk might even be built in moveable sections to it can be realigned periodically to create a changing experience.

Community Commons would offer the most significant public space. It would be located between the Civic Center Complex and the Arts and Culture Center and offer areas for civic celebrations, special events and farmers markets, among other activities. An outdoor amphitheater would be built behind the Arts and Culture Center.

A new Riverwalk Park would be created east of the Community Commons, between Willing Street and the river’s edge. A pedestrian bridge would take people over the railroad tracks.

Willing Street Mall can be created on Willing Street between Caroline and Pine streets. Cars would still use it but the area would be made more pedestrian-friendly, an asset for shoppers and restaurant-goers.

Preservation Park is the name suggested for the natural lands along the river and south of the old concrete plant and the wastewater facility. Walking trails, fishing platforms and a canoe-kayak launch would be popular attractions on the site.

Blackwater Quarter could be the name of an entertainment district created from Caroline Street buildings that overlook Blackwater River. The area could become an entertainment hub with restaurants, outdoor cafes and gathering spaces. Balconies would offer upper-level dining space for restaurants.

Significant redevelopment can be done at The Mews, the name envisioned for the block between Elmira and Santa Rosa streets, east of Caroline Street. The concept calls for pedestrian space mixed with new and existing buildings that offer ground-floor retail shops and kiosks, with residential and office space on higher floors.

Riverfront Village can be developed in association with the marina and park planned for the area around the wastewater treatment plant and the former concrete plant. Planners say a group of mixed-use buildings – retail, office and commercial – could work well in that area.

Land east of Broad Street could be redeveloped for homes and neighborhood businesses. The property offers a view of the river and could be buffered by a greenbelt preserve, which would make the land more appealing.

The city-owned Quinn Street Marina would get new docks, a boat launch, parking and other amenities.

West Florida Railroad Museum could be expanded onto county-owned land for both museum use and for public gatherings.

Posted in City, Community

No Comments

There are currently no comments on Shops, recreation, boardwalk are among highlights of 17 proposals for downtown Milton’s future. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment