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MTSU community invited to July 11 workshop for North Highland study

The MTSU community is invited to join downtown-area property owners, residents, interested stakeholders and the general public for a “visioning workshop” Monday, July 11, at Patterson Park Community Center.

The workshop will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. in meeting rooms A and B at the community center, which is located at 521 Mercury Blvd.

According to a city news release, the workshop’s purpose is to hear what citizens and stakeholders want in the study area, which includes an area near downtown Murfreesboro that extends north of the Public Square from East Clark Boulevard and North Highland Avenue south to College Street, then east along Lytle Street from Northwest Broad Street to Middle Tennessee Boulevard at the MTSU campus.North Highland Ave study logo_web

Attendees will work together in small groups at tables with planning professionals to discuss ideas, wants and needs for the study area, the release states. City leaders will incorporate the workshop’s suggestions into the study’s results, which will include a future land-use plan, a development scenario, potential infrastructure improvements and market recommendations.

“Having a visioning work session like this helps stakeholders really dig into what can be possible in the study area, which includes two very important streets — Highland and Lytle — between downtown Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee State University,” principal city planner Matthew Blomeley, who is serving as lead planner for this project, said in the release.

Paula Mansfield, the new director of strategic partnerships at MTSU, is strongly encouraging input from the campus community, which she said she believes “is vital to the planning process.”

MTSU Wordmark“As we at MTSU work to continue building strong partnerships in our community, this corridor uniquely situated between the campus and downtown Murfreesboro is a key area of focus for us,” Mansfield said.

“This process will help build a stronger adjacent surrounding community to support the university’s goals and objectives as well as help create an active and thriving community life for our students.”

Patti Miller, assistant vice president for campus planning, serves on the steering committee for the study.

“The city is taking an important step in support of vitality and development of the North Highland area, as it seeks to preserve the history of the area,” Miller said. “The close proximity of the MTSU campus and city center, and the dynamic of the area, create opportunities to make improvements to our physical links and build on the economic strength of our communities. We appreciate the city’s initiative to go forward with this in-depth study.”

After Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital moved to the Gateway area across town, many medical and related industry offices followed, leaving several empty and underutilized buildings in the neighborhood. Reinvestment already is occurring, however, as the Murfreesboro Police Department updates and moves into the old Murfreesboro Medical Clinic facilities on North Highland and after MTSU purchased Saint Thomas’ old Bell Street Center office complex and reopened it as the Miller Education Center.

“We see incredible opportunity for improvement in the study area,” Blomeley added in the city release. “The recommendations that come from the study will support ongoing efforts to revitalize and attract businesses, retail, arts and entertainment to our downtown. We hope to have a great turnout at the workshop and lots of engagement and ideas.”

For information about the North Highland project, contact Blomeley at 615-893-6441 or mblomeley@murfreesborotn.gov.