About this project and survey:
The City of Elma and Grays Harbor Council of Governments (GHCOG) have embarked on an Area-Wide Planning (AWP) initiative to support revitalization and attract redevelopment/investment in Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods with emphasis on the properties along Main Street between 1st and Division Street (the “focus area,” outlined in the image below). Please take the opportunity to participate in this 23 question (14 minute) survey so your feedback, preferences, and desires are incorporated into the revitalization plan for Downtown – Elma's Downtown revitalization should reflect the community’s values, desires, and needs.

Downtown Elma is an important commercial district and community gathering area. Help us explore opportunities to improve its functionality, aesthetics/visual appearance, and economic viability.

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Project Objectives - The City and GHCOG are conducting this AWP initiative to explore existing Downtown conditions, engage with the community, and define revitalization opportunities and strategies in Downtown Elma.  The project boundaries (“focus area”) include the city blocks and properties along the W. Main Street corridor between 1st and Division Streets. 

The key objectives will be to:
  1. identify property/building conditions and Downtown sites with redevelopment potential,
  2. assess the City’s current zoning and development standards conditions,
  3. engage with community members and stakeholders to define local priorities and revitalization ideas,
  4. identify potential capital projects that would support revitalization,
  5. create an Urban Design Plan for the focus area (including potential land use designations, mobility enhancements, and future amenities), and
  6. define implementation strategies.
Potential Outcomes – The AWP initiative will result in a series of recommendations that would improve Downtown’s appearance, vitality, and economic conditions.  These recommendations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Utility Improvements – potential water and sewer line improvements to better serve downtown properties and future development.
  • Zoning Refinements – potential amendments/revisions to the City’s zoning and land development recommendations that would streamline the permitting process for desired businesses/uses, and/or to ensure new development is both attractive and functional for Downtown (e.g., design standards).
  • Parking Strategies – potential options to add and/or manage parking in Downtown.
  • Streetscape Enhancements – potential enhancements to downtown streets that may include new lighting, landscaping, art, benches, and sidewalk widening.
  • Community Events/Gathering Spaces – potential plans for the City and community organizations to host annual events and local traditions for both residents and tourists. This may include plans for new parks, plazas, and other community gathering areas.
  • New Development/Businesses – potential strategies and programs to recruit additional businesses to Downtown Elma. This may include strategies to promote individuals to develop vacant lots in Downtown with new community-serving uses (e.g., retail, restaurants, office and/or housing).
Example Area-Wide Plan: Cosmopolis, Washington – In 2020, the GHCOG facilitated a similar area-wide planning initiative for the Downtown and Waterfront areas in Cosmopolis. Click the link below to review the Cosmopolis AWP document as an example of what could be written for Downtown Elma.

cosmopolis-2020-wide-area-plan.pdf (cosmopoliswa.gov)

Steering Committee – The City and GHCOG have formed a Steering Committee comprising downtown business owners, property owners, Elma residents, and non-profit partners to serve as community representatives to provide recommendations and feedback on future revitalization activities for Downtown Elma. The community feedback from this survey will be used to guide decisions and recommendations for Downtown Elma revitalization planning.
Funding Background:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant money is being used to fund this planning endeavor. The EPA awarded a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant to the GHCOG and its coalition partners to (i) identify brownfield sites across the region, (ii) create an action plan for site cleanup, and (iii) define strategies for reuse and redevelopment of those sites and surrounding neighborhoods. The EPA defines a brownfield as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant”. Existing and former industrial uses, vehicle service stations, and abandoned structures fall within this definition.

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Thank you for your participation - your feedback is important!