Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2024 | Updated Thursday, May 2, 2024

‘It’s the Community’s Plan’: Council Adopts Downtown Master Plan

*The Huntington City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, April 30, to adopt the Destination Downtown Master Plan. The document will serve as a guide for improvements and initiatives for Downtown Huntington over the next 10 to 20 years. The original article published April 10, 2024, upon the plan's presentation appears below.*

HUNTINGTON – The City of Huntington’s Destination Downtown Master Plan took the next step toward adoption and implementation during April 9’s City Council meeting.

Scott Siefker, principal and partner for Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group (TSW), presented the plan’s final draft during a 30-minute presentation. The full presentation is available for the public to view at

The final draft of Huntington’s Downtown Master Plan can be found at under “Draft Recommendations” in the Learn More section. City Council will consider a resolution to formally adopt a plan as soon as its April 30 meeting.

The 196-page document stems from a partnership between the City of Huntington and TSW that began in June 2023. It is the result of a community-guided planning process that aims to develop strategies and recommendations for short- and long-term improvements to downtown Huntington over the next 10 to 20 years.

The master plan “is founded on the shared voices and ideas of the community. The planning process emphasized broad and meaningful input through a variety of formats including both in-person and digital media,” according to a summary of the document that was provided to Council members.

“At the end of the day, that’s what this is – it is a plan of the community,” said Bryn Keplinger, director of Community Development and Redevelopment. “It’s not the mayor’s plan. It’s not my plan. It’s not the Plan Commission’s plan. It’s the community’s plan.”

Overall, more than 300 community members took advantage of opportunities to provide their input and feedback.

Residents provided at least 1,469 points of feedback on displays across two public workshops held at the Pathfinder Arts & Entrepreneurial Center.

Public and business-owner surveys generated more than 200 online and paper responses that helped draft the plan. Many more residents added their input via a mobile display that visited 14 community locations.

The master plan’s final draft identifies five overarching goals that capture key focus areas for downtown. These focuses are development, connectivity, destinations, vitality and administration.

Goal 1 – Development: “Improve downtown development, and supporting systems, to ensure that the district can provide a diverse and accessible set of goods and resources to Huntington’s residents and visitors.”

Examples of suggestions supporting Goal 1 include:

  • Creating new development and commercial redevelopment opportunities along the Little River.
  • Increasing available entertainment business options.
  • Incentivizing quality commercial and residential development to increase foot traffic.
  • Encouraging quality residential options throughout downtown.
  • Highlighting available public parking locations and, if demand warrants, consider new parking structures to service downtown.

Goal 2 – Connectivity: “Improve and enhance connections into and through downtown to ensure that the area is safe, accessible and comfortable for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.”

Examples of suggestions supporting Goal 2 include:

  • Implementing Complete Street principles in public infrastructure projects.
  • Reducing the width of vehicular travel lanes on city-controlled streets, where appropriate.
  • Expanding street lighting throughout downtown.
  • Placing barriers to protect bicycle lanes, where feasible.
  • Developing a unique trail or greenway that connects existing trails to downtown.

Goal 3 – Destinations: “Promote, preserve and increase the supply of natural features and usable open space throughout downtown to encourage recreation and activation within these spaces.”

Examples of suggestions supporting Goal 3 include:

  • Creating parks and trail programming on public land adjacent to the Little River.
  • Instituting a central community gathering space adjacent to the Little River.
  • Developing overlook areas near areas of interest, history or recreation.
  • Implementing opportunities such as kayaking to promote the Little River’s activation as a recreational resource.

Goal 4 – Vitality: “Activate Downtown Huntington by providing unique and community-focused season events, year-round programming, and promoting these activities to the community and region using distinct downtown branding and messaging.”

Examples of suggestions supporting Goal 4 include:

  • Expanding the marketing of downtown programs, events and festivals.
  • Implementing downtown branding through logo and website development.
  • Developing a flexible indoor/outdoor space for community events.
  • Developing murals and public art that are distinct to Huntington.
  • Adding historic markers to buildings and sites downtown.

Goal 5 – Administration: “Modernize public administration roles, processes and tools to properly enforce current regulations, incentivize programs and development and provide flexibility so that we can adapt to changing conditions and priorities.”

Suggestions in support of Goal 5 include:

  • Hiring a part- or full-time director for downtown programming and administration.
  • Adopting a Riverfront District for the downtown area.
  • Supporting work/share collaborative spaces downtown.
  • Considering downtown exterior review design guidelines.

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