How would you like to live in a city that has a historic turn-of-the-century charm? How would you like to live in a city with a downtown park, bike trails and well lit streets? How would you like to live in a city that would attract businesses and jobs?
In 2006, a master plan was designed for Midway while Don Emmons was mayor. The plan called for conserving our historical resources, such as the museum, graveyard and church. It suggested that the city develop mixed-use centers to avoid “strip” commercial development. The plan proposed that the city design street systems that are connected with bike paths and sidewalks throughout the city to encourage less vehicle use.
New buildings should resemble turn-of-the- century buildings, such as Dr. Tad Jackson’s Midway Family Dental building. Most existing commercial buildings in Midway have boring facades, which do not fit the plan.
The plan calls for a new town center between Highway 84 and Martin Boulevard on Nell Avenue. A new city hall would be built on the west side of Nell with a park behind the building. Three small roads would connect city hall with Butler Avenue, creating the town center.
The central park would contain a multi-use pavilion for outdoor entertainment.
Butler Avenue would be cleaned up with a wider street and a tree-lined median with the intent of attracting more businesses to fill vacant lots in this area. The wooded area behind the west side of the street would be developed as part of the town center, leading to our historical village, which would be the focus of tourism.
The plan also suggests that a parallel road run along Highway 84 with a bike path so the shopping areas along 84 could be accessed from the parallel street to keep a clean look for the highway. All commercial signs should be façade or ground-mounted, similar to the one at Coastal EMC with masonry treatments and landscaping, rather than the ugly towering signs, such as the El Cheapo sign.
The exit from I-95 would be developed with hotels, restaurants and a visitors center to draw travelers into the city. Lake Gale could be developed as a tourist attraction for boaters and fishermen.
Midway has more than its share of dirt roads. These are not only a travel hazard after rain, but they are also an environmental threat that negatively impacts our ecosystem. The city needs to find grants to pave these roads.
The section of Highway 17 entering the city from the north should be widened with a median lined with oak trees to keep with a Southern look.
The city should promote Midway as an affordable place to live relative to Richmond Hill and safer than Savannah. In the areas where we have new housing developments, we see very few vacancies.
If you stop by the City Mall, you should ask to see the master plan. Even better, attend the monthly city council meetings on the second Monday of the month at the Midway Police Station at 6 p.m.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway and has written for trade publications in various fields.