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Jan 04

Planning for Prosperity

Posted on January 4, 2019 at 10:13 AM by Kristy Bansemer

The Derby Planning Commission recently forwarded the draft K-15 Area Plan to the City Council for approval. The plan is the culmination of work that occurred in 2017 and 2018 to envision a better future for the north gateway to Derby along K-15 from Patriot Avenue to Meadowlark Boulevard.

This mile stretch of commercial property was mostly developed in the 1960s and 1970s when it was clearly “out in the county” and since then has been surrounded by residential neighborhoods, new retail development, and an expanded K-15 highway. Many buildings along this corridor have nearly reached the end of their useful life, and the public infrastructure serving the area (streets, stormwater drainage, etc.) could benefit from some updates.

The good news is that some businesses along this corridor have thrived, and some have redeveloped or improved their property. On the other hand, vehicular access to some properties is confusing for some motorists and difficult for big trucks to maneuver given the limitations of the access road (Nelson Drive).

We found during the planning process that a number of property owners are very interested in working with the City to make improvements to achieve the highest and best uses for the future good of the city and the business owners. On January 8, the City Council will consider approving the plan. In doing so, it will be addressing the number one priority for improving the image of the community to people driving in from the north on K-15.

The planning process included many conversations with business owners, nearby residents and public officials. The plan drew upon the expertise of professional planners and the experience of City staff who have heard from current and previous business owners about their ideas for expanding in Derby and what they look for during site selection.

Once the City Council has its questions answered, its approval of a plan will provide City staff with direction that will be used for years to come in planning public improvements and advising businesses on their investments. The plan envisions an attractive K-15 corridor that provides a smart place for entrepreneurs to operate a business. Access by vehicles and pedestrians would be intuitive, and stormwater runoff would be managed better. Derbyites could bike or walk to Walmart more safely, and drivers coming into Derby would be greeted by an inviting gateway and a prosperous business community.

Make no mistake, improvements will not happen quickly and will require significant investment of public and private funds over ten years or more. Having a solid plan is a good start. I am proud of the many people who participated in developing this plan, and I look forward to the work required for implementation, which will surely lead to greater prosperity of the Derby community.

Kathy Sexton
City Manager

Published in the Derby Informer on Jan. 2, 2019.