FARMINGTON — A small gathering of business owners and selectmen  at this week’s Downtown Development Plan workshop clearly wanted to see a slimmer version of the plan.

It’s a plan that highlights “brick and mortar” projects rather than promotional events.

Projects such as a recreational bridge across the Sandy River, a parking garage, restrooms or street lights were what business owner John Moore was looking for in the plan. He said such developments would impact businesses more.

“The success of the (tax increment financing) is whether a bridge or parking garage gets built,” he said. Future generations might appreciate the group’s foresight to put money away and build something that improves the town with TIF funds instead of holding a successful festival, he said.

This was the third workshop to provide public input on the downtown plan.  Farmington Downtown Association members brought the idea of creating a downtown TIF district to the board last summer. John Holden of Eaton Peabody Consultants was contracted to create the plan, which was  needed to create a TIF district.

The plan lays the foundation for a TIF district and what is done with TIF funding,  Holden said. He has since left Eaton and Peabody Consultants but returned for the workshop. 

A plan can lay out a range of projects with a sense of how and when it gets done, he said.

“In my opinion, a plan includes both projects and events,” Holden said.

Selectman Andrew Hufnagel wanted a more streamlined, simpler plan, one that also included the West Farmington area.

Most agreed with Jon Bubier that a recreational bridge at the railroad trestle would tie the two sections of town together.

The goal is to finalize a plan that includes a definition of geographic area and projects, Selectman Stephan Bunker said.

At two previous workshops, concerns were raised about the plan being too broad and not right for Farmington. Concerns were also raised about the involvement of the Farmington Downtown Association and potential staffing to coordinate events.

This time, the group was interested in simplifying the plan down to specific actions, including town branding, promotions, fundraising, historic preservation, advertising, signage, restrooms, the bridge, downtown parking and improving the capacity to entertain bus tours.

Holden offered to streamline the plan for a small fee.

Eaton Peabody representative Rick McCarthy was there to facilitate the work they contracted to do for the town, including the TIF District.

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