Asakura Robinson is pleased to be working with the Lufkin Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and stakeholders to develop an economic development and public realm vision plan for Downtown Lufkin. This project will engage stakeholders and the public to improve the public experience for those living in and around Downtown and those visiting beautiful Downtown Lufkin. Input will be guided by the project’s Advisory Committee, in addition to online engagement and public meetings.
The project website, www.LufkinForward.com, launched at the beginning of December, as well as the Community Priorities Survey, as a way to attract diverse feedback from residents, businesses, and visitors. The survey closes mid-January and the results will be integrated into the Downtown Vision, goals, and priorities. Don’t forget to check out the project’s fun Instagram!
Located in the heart of the Piney Woods in East Texas and Angelina County, the City of Lufkin is 120 miles north of Houston and is surrounded by the Angelina National Forest, the Davy Crockett National Forest, and Lake Sam Rayburn. These rich natural amenities attracted the lumber industry, which later founded Lufkin with the arrival of the H.E. & W.T Railroad in 1882.
Downtown Lufkin has many cultural and historic assets, including the recently renovated historic Pines Theater, the ongoing renovations of the Angelina Hotel into apartments, and the Museum of East Texas. Annual and regularly occurring events attract Lufkin residents and visitors downtown, in addition to small businesses such as boutiques, local restaurants and coffee shops, and furniture stores. Downtown has a strong pedestrian environment and activated storefronts. However, there are numerous vacant buildings and lots that remain empty and in poor condition, even as adjacent properties regain new life. The Downtown lacks a programmed outdoor open space, and has little wayfinding and branding.
This initiative will influence future development projects and public investments in Downtown Lufkin for years to come. The Vision Plan will identify a variety of projects, programs, and policies for the LEDC and partner stakeholders to improve downtown infrastructure, beautification, and events. The project’s goals, which are a work in progress as ideas develop and engagement continues, include:
Our 5-month scope of work includes three phases – Understand, Envision, and Act. The online Community Priorities Survey has attracted over 750 responses in its first two weeks. LEDC staff has passed out project information at the annual Rudolph the Pumping Unit Lighting Ceremony and spoke at multiple local luncheons. Community members will be able to learn about the project and provide feedback on Asakura Robinson’s Existing Conditions research at the first community workshop, which will be held virtually in January 2021.
The Lufkin Economic Development Corporation’s mission is to stimulate economic growth within the City of Lufkin and Angelina County. The EDC is a Type B Corporation that receives an one-eighth of one percent of locally-collected sales tax from the City of Lufkin. Type B corporations may fund quality of life improvements, including economic development, and acquire or pay for land, buildings, equipment, targeted infrastructure, and improvements. Much of the LEDC’s previous efforts have been dedicated to attracting new businesses through incentives, site selection, and property development. This revitalization effort allows the LEDC to tap into a new source of economic growth for Lufkin and Angelina County- small businesses, creative class attraction, and increased sales tax revenue from tourism.