With the theme of “Move Forward Together,” many Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association members are helping shape the Village’s future through participation in the public comprehensive master plan charrette process.
The comprehensive plan will be a roadmap to the future.
Not only will the plan help the POA meet its financial needs, but it can help the Village develop a sense of community and culture to help empower HSV to thrive in future decades, backers say.
Charrettes conclude with a closing presentation in Woodlands Auditorium from 6-7:30 p.m. tomorrow. The public will hear the project team’s latest work, along with an invitation for all to provide feedback – attendees will have many opportunities to engage with planning representatives tomorrow.
Public input is critical to the success of the comprehensive master plan, the POA says.
POA chief executive officer Lesley Nalley told the government affairs committee last Friday that the public truly has the opportunity to shape the Village’s future. For the comprehensive master plan to be a success, the public must embrace and support it.
Starting with two opening sessions last Thursday, members have also voiced opinions through an online master plan survey, at a drop-in charrette Saturday and through an online webinar.
Smaller charrette workshops have been conducted during the past week on topics including utilities, infrastructure, and transportation; amenities and recreation; budgeting and funding; communications and marketing; economic development; zoning and aesthetics; and health and education.
The charrette process allows property owners to shape the Village’s future for decades to come, says Dave Roberts, vice president of planning at Crafton Tull. A partnership of Arkansas-based Crafton Tull and DPZ Planners of Miami, Florida are leading the effort.
Roberts said the plan’s successful execution will depend upon members taking ownership in the plan. Many of the challenges facing the Village are similar to challenges faced by towns across the country, he said.
The need for long-term maintenance isn’t anyone’s fault, Roberts said. “It’s just a fact that it’s 50 years old,” he said. The Village was founded in 1970 by its developer, Cooper Communities Inc., and many facilities date back to that era. With much construction at the Village’s founding, many facilities are aging out at the same time.
Targeted development can bring many virtues, Roberts said.
Randall Gross, Randall Gross Development Economics, gave examples of how targeted growth can benefit all property owners. Excluding property owner-approved rate hikes, the POA has been averaging a 1.5 percent annual hike in assessments, he said. But operation and maintenance, excluding any capital improvements, has risen by 2.6 percent per year.
Meeting the Village’s total needs would require a $110.80 monthly assessment for improved properties, he forecast. “But we don’t want to do that,” he said, adding that targeted development can meet the Village’s long-term needs.
John Kelsh, Great Destination Strategies, said branding and marketing are important.
Branding is a two-sided coin. “Branding is what people think about you, not what you say it is,” he said. “It is also what the brand promises.”
Branding development once took decades, but with the Internet, now can be realized in only two or three years. “Which is good news for you,” he said.
Kelsh said the Village is currently a retirement community. With the population of Arkansas and entire U.S. aging, retirement can be expected to remain important to the Village. But niche development can attract new Villagers Matt Lambert, principal, DPZ CoDesign, and Randall Gross, Randall Gross Development Economics, presented many ideas for niche development.
Niche neighborhoods would encompass only 4 percent of the Village, leaving the other 96 percent unchanged. But the new development could bring in sufficient additional funding to the POA to meet future needs.
Developing a town center could lure younger people interested in living near businesses and social activities. A town center would allow residents to walk to businesses and activities, and would generate more member assessment income per acre.
Isolated, small shops don’t work as well as what can be found in a town center. But what is the key to a successful business area? Should businesses be built first to lure people? Or should cultural activities first bring people to the area? “The correct answer is people,” Gross said.
Once people are lured to an area, businesses will seek the area, he said. For every 15 minutes in travel time, people expect an hour of activities, which can include eating, shopping, enjoying entertainment and other activities.
The latest about the comprehensive master plan is at www.explorethevillage.com/vision/comprehensive-master- plan.