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Preliminary plan on Richmond Hill development presented
Development Master Plan
The preliminary master plan for development of a 51-acre tract near Ford Plantation was presented Thursday in Richmond Hill City Hall. - photo by Photo provided.

The preliminary master plan for development of a 51-acre tract near Ford Plantation was presented during an open house Jan. 7 in Richmond Hill City Hall.

The plan, which came from ideas from a steering committee that has been meeting ever since the City Council approved the $1.05 million purchase of the tract in November, has a new city hall and library, almost 9 acres for a pond, playgrounds and spaces for events.

Richmond Hill Planning and Zoning Director Scott Allison said they are maybe halfway through the design process with planning-and-landscape architectural firm jB+a.

“Nothing is set in stone,” he said.

The preliminary plan presented Jan. 7 has a new city hall in the middle of the tract, with a new library northeast of that near the entrance off Ford Avenue. A 6.3-acre pond is just east of the city hall, with the pond surrounded by a 10-foot-wide walkway. Another, 2.1-acre pond is on the southwest end of the tract. A road enters the tract from Ford Avenue across from Cherry Hill Drive. The plan also calls for a small dock, pavilions, playgrounds and open lawns for festivals, concerts or other events.

Having the new city hall at the center of the development creates a civic, formal feel, said Steve Provost of jB+a.

The tract will be next to private development that could have mixed uses, including commercial, office or retail.

“That’s to be seen,” Provost said.

The preliminary master plan came together after the steering committee considered three different concept plans. Pieces from all three were folded into the plan presented Thursday, Provost said.

Allison said jB+a will come back with a further-refined concept in middle of February for final feedback. Finalization of the master plan, phasing and estimations of costs are expected by the end of March or early April.

Allison said Tuesday that most of the people in attendance seemed excited about the potential for the property and its multiple uses. Other feedback included how the development would connect with the city’s sidewalk-system project.

City Councilman Russ Carpenter said Friday that one of the changes that has been made is to add more retail space within the development, keeping in line with the original intent for the property to become a town center.

“Now the city is not getting into the restaurant and retail business — not by any means,” he said. “But there is going to be some space set aside for restaurants and maybe small shops or cafés.”

Carpenter said some of the sites the city does not own adjacent to the property are zoned commercial.

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