SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Downtown Leadership Committee discussed plans to engage residents in a conversation about the future of the city’s downtown to guide the planning of a scheduled streetscape project.
WYDOT will begin a resurfacing project on Main Street, from Burkitt Street to Dow Street, in 2023 and the city is exploring ways it can partner with WYDOT and capitalize on this project to improve Sheridan’s downtown.
The city launched the project website Thursday, www.sheridanmainstreet.com, which invites Sheridan residents to offer input on the project’s design. The site will be periodically updated with surveys and polls, and it contains two mapping tools residents can use to highlight areas of the city that need improvement.
The first, the “close calls” mapping, encourages residents to drop pins onto a Google Map of the city at locations where they have had near-accidents as a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian and provide a brief description of what happened.
City staff and project designers will compile data from the tool into a heat map, which will allow them to identify areas of the city that can be improved to promote safer traffic flow.
The city is partnering with Community Builders, a non-profit community consulting firm, on the close-calls analysis, as well as the project as a whole.
“We are analyzing some crash data from WYDOT for Main Street, but we need to know some areas that feel dangerous or are potentially dangerous that the crash data isn’t showing,” Community Builders’ program director Jillian Sutherland said. “Because a lot of times, we make improvements based off of accidents that already happened, and we want to make sure we’re preventing accidents.”
The second tool, known as the “Photo Voice Activity,” asks residents to provide a photo and brief explanation of one aspect of the downtown they like and one aspect they don’t like, and mark the locations of those aspects on a Google Map as well. Those submissions will be included in public input sessions later this month, and participants who submit their photos before April 18 will be entered to win two tickets to this year’s Sheridan WYO Rodeo.
City staff and design consultants will hold open-house workshops April 22-25 where the project leadership committee will hold discussions with city residents and provide updates on the planning process.
“We’ll have several designers and engineers on hand; it’s an open-door policy,” community development director Brian Craig said. “They are going to be working on large-format maps and creating ideas based on feedback we’ve received from the web tools, drop-in customers and their own best-practice experiences…I can’t stress enough that these engagement events are an opportunity for the public to have their voice heard as far as what happens with Main Street and Downtown going forward. “
The group intends to leave these workshops with an action plan to guide the design of the project.