The Downtown Hammond Master Plan update activates vacant lots, promotes Hammond's history and culture, and supports diverse businesses to reflect a vibrant community vision.
Asakura Robinson worked with the client and the community to ensure that this downtown plan was a reflection of the vibrant community that surrounded it and of the bright future they envision for it.
Embedded in the strategies and recommendations of the master plan is the objective of placemaking through activating vacant lots and promoting and engaging with Hammond's history and culture.
One third of the recommendations in the plan directly address economic development in the 20,000-person city, with a special focus on attracting diverse businesses. The plan also includes a range of grants and loans available for business attraction and support.
The Downtown Development District (DDD) and the City of Hammond have accomplished much of the previous iterations of the plan and have been successful in implementing various projects. They wanted this new plan to present a novel vision and set of ideas that create a stronger sense of place while attracting more visitors and customers. Given Asakura Robinson’s background in downtown revitalization plans and small area planning, the firm was confident it would be able to satisfy the clients’ requests.
From the start, Asakura Robinson began a lengthy community engagement process. A community priorities survey was largely administered online where residents expressed their wants and needs for the downtown. Four different stakeholder focus groups were assembled that represented four varying cornerstones of the downtown community: business retention and district development, downtown design, downtown as a destination, and downtown culture and living. Additionally, a downtown community workshop took place in the same vicinity as the weekly farmer’s market. This workshop included a range of activities from a children’s art competition to a visual preference survey.
Utilizing this community input, data gathered from in-person field visits, and demographic and geographic figures obtained from the City of Hammond, five themes were developed for Downtown Hammond. Downtown Hammond is unique, alive, prosperous, accessible, and beautiful. Each of the fifteen strategies then provided fit into these thematic buckets. Finally, Asakura Robinson held an implementation workshop with the DDD, the City, and members of the community to go over the concept plan and rank their top strategies.
View the final plan here.