Michelle Miller, AICP
The City of Sherwood received a Transportation Growth Management Grant (TGM) from the Oregon Department of Transportation in order to develop a Town Center Plan for the city. A “Town Center” is a designation of a place that Metro, the regional government, categorizes as the center of activity for a community. To give you some background, “town centers provide localized services to tens of thousands of people within a two- to three-mile radius.” Examples include small city centers such as Lake Oswego, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove and Milwaukie and large neighborhood centers such as Hillsdale, St. Johns, Cedar Mill and Aloha. Town centers have a strong sense of community identity and people can travel by foot easily and access transit. Years ago, the Council voted to designate the Six Corners area as the Town Center for Sherwood; however, there was not much study involved other than to recognize it was the main retail commercial area within the City. That compares to our Old Town area, which many see as the center and heart of the community, a unique, walkable place that defines the City with its own set of small businesses and civic buildings.
With this grant, we were able to look more in depth at where the Town Center should be located, whether to expand the Center, move it a new location like Old Town or keep it where it is. Once the area is designated a Town Center, it will provide an opportunity to help lead future development, focus limited public resources and get other grant funding opportunities for the implementation of that particular plan.
As part of the planning effort, we formed several committees to help make a recommendation to the Steering Committee (Planning Commission) and inform the elected decision-makers (City Council) as to the overall Town Center Plan that will be developed. One group is the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which is comprised of local business and community leaders that have a stake in the outcome of the project. The other group is the Technical Advisory Committee, which is comprised of regional agency leads such as Washington County, Tri-Met, Metro and other local jurisdictions that helped provide regional context to the discussion.