by: COURTESY CITY OF SHERWOOD - FAVORITE ALTERNATIVE - Residents who particpated in a Jan. 17 open house said they would prefer a town center that included the Six Corners and Old Town areas defined by natural and manmade boundaries. Following future meetings, the city is expected to decide on a formal town center by June.Including Old Town as well as the established shopping areas along Highway 99W and Tualatin-Sherwood Road would be the best alternative when it comes to identifying a formal Town Center site for the city.

That’s what most of the 44 residents participating in a Jan. 17 open house made clear as a preference when it comes to determining a mandate from Metro requiring that cities identify a two- to three-square-mile radius area to provide localized services to tens of thousands of residents.

Attendees were given the ability to place dots on three maps to express opinions on what plan would best serve the city based on three criterion including: an area’s character, its mix of land uses, and its potential for economic growth and vitality.

Both the majority of dots (and a subsequent survey of the same group) showed attendees favored what’s known as Alternative 3 (a plan planners refer to as The Edges), an area that includes both Old Town and Six Corners defined by the borders of Highway 99W to the northwest, Cedar Creek to the west, the railroad tracks in Old Town to the southeast, the industrial area to the east, and Tualatin-Sherwood Road to the north.

“It’s a small sample but a sample of interested people who came to the open house,” Michelle Miller, an associate city planner, said of the preference.

In 2000, what’s historically been known as the Six Corners area – roughly the corridor along Highway 99W stretching from Tualatin-Sherwood Road north to 12th Street – was designated as the city’s Town Center.

The other two alternatives included:

Alternative 1 (Old Town): An area of Sherwood that includes Railroad, Washington, Pine and other downtown streets as well residential neighborhoods immediately south of that location.

Alternative 2 (All Study area): The inclusion of both the Old Town area and the regional shopping areas around Six Corners (but not defined by specific borders).

All three recommendations were put forward earlier by technical and stakeholder advisory committees.

“We have to be done basically with the project by June,” said Julia Hajduk, the city’s community development director.

Hajduk said the one thing that surprised her was that half of the residents used transit to get around town and the other half didn’t. She also was surprised that most respondents would use a high-capacity transit system to travel to Tualatin rather than Portland.

The Town Center concept is part of Metro’s 2040 Growth Management plan, a 1990s document designed to determine where growth was most likely to occur over the next 50 years. Although the city of Sherwood had initially said the Six Corners area was its preference, that area was never formally adopted and the city recently went out to re-examine whether residents wanted a more expansive boundary.

Money for the study came as part of an almost $170,000 transportation growth grant distributed by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. Also, the city pitched in $20,900, said Miller.

A total of 21 surveys were returned at a Jan. 17 open house to determine where future growth in Sherwood should be focused. Survey results showed:

• 55 percent of respondents said they would walk for at least one-half mile for services with 33 percent saying they would walk at least one to four blocks for those services.

• 48 percent said that if a high-capacity transit connection were available (something like a rapid-transit bus or possibly light rail), they would travel to Tualatin, followed by 38 percent who would head to Portland. Other destinations included Wilsonville (33 percent), Tigard and Beaverton (both 29 percent), Newberg (19 percent) and Hillsboro and Salem (4 percent).

• A whopping 90 percent indicating that providing open space, filling in sidewalk gaps and the creation of pedestrian amenities are the most supported priorities when it comes to prioritizing resources and city investment. For those pedestrian amenities, 62 percent of the respondents said they would like to see benches and directional signage. Fifty-seven percent felt encouraging economic development was important.

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