Most citizens find planning documents a little boring. That’s not the case, however, for government contractors. For them, such documents are extremely interesting.
In fact, savvy contracting firms know there’s gold to be found in planning documents. Almost every large upcoming project at every governmental jurisdiction is well documented somewhere in a detailed plan that can be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Once obtained, these multi-year plans describe projects of all types. The short- and long-range plans are blueprints for organizations that anticipate growth and transformation in cities, counties, school districts, universities, etc. The only caveat is that planning documents are living documents that are subject to change occasionally. That results in a requirement to check back regularly for updated master planning documents.
However, here are a few interesting upcoming opportunities that can be found described in more detail in planning documents throughout the country.
Guilford County school officials have proposed a new $2 billion facilities master plan that would result in improvements at every school in the district. The plan includes rebuilding 22 schools on existing sites. Additionally, the plan would permit the district to abandon the use of more than 500 mobile and temporary classrooms and create a facility for administrative offices. The district will likely spread the work over a number of years and launch projects in three separate phases.
The city of Draper, Utah, and an appointed 11-member Point of the Mountain State Land Authority (POMSLA) board are working to finalize the development of a mixed-use project. It will be located on land where the Utah State Prison is now situated. The state owns this particular 700 acres of land and will have the final word as to the size and type of the mixed-use project, but plans already are underway to move prisoners from the site. They will be transferred out of the facility to a new prison being built 3 miles west of Salt Lake City International Airport. POMSLA currently is searching for consultants to prepare a feasibility study for site development. The authority will be accepting proposals until early January. More projects will be announced soon.
Ralston City Council members have approved a master plan for development of the area between 72nd Street and downtown, close to the Ralston Arena. The master plan outlines the creation of 460 new housing units and about 160,000 square feet of retail and commercial space at a cost of between $40 million and $50 million. Delivery of the project will be through a public-private partnership (P3). The project will begin in the downtown area, and it will include pedestrian plazas, a food truck park, a grocery store, and green spaces. The master plan is a work in progress, and the city expects new ideas and different designs to emerge over time.
Shawnee County Commissioners want to start developing a master plan for an $8 million multi-generational recreation center at Family Park in southwest Topeka. A request for qualifications (RFQ) currently is seeking a consultant to help develop the plan to cover design, layout, and future maintenance. The Family Park currently has an aquatic center, but there is an additional undeveloped 60 acres.
The University of Texas San Antonio finalized a master plan in November that covers the next 10 years. The plan outlines the addition of nearly 5.3 million gross square feet of new space to accommodate a projected 45,000 students. It includes development of the Via Verde, an open space located on the northwest side of the main campus. It also calls for mixed-use housing, courtyards, green space, a development to be called Roadrunner Village, a new east-west paseo, embedded plazas, and a mixed-use district for students. The plan also focuses on ways to utilize the Park West campus for sporting and recreational activities and has a vision of adding a campus loop road to ease congestion. Current conversations appear to be leaning toward delivery through a P3 engagement.
The city of Gainesville recently approved funding of $430,000 for several new projects. The 2020 master plan includes a Street and Utility Maintenance Program for both water and wastewater projects, an impact fee study, a master thoroughfare plan, and a sidewalk plan. The city believes working on the plans simultaneously will save money, noting that some data collected can be used for multiple projects.
In Houston, the nonprofit Buffalo Bayou Partnership, responsible for a $58 million renovation project several years ago, is again the focus of attention. That’s because its 20-year master plan for the East Buffalo Bayou has been released. The master plan has resulted from two years of research, planning, and public input. It includes 40 miles of new waterfront and 200 acres of park space, as well as seven new boat landings and pedestrian bridges. The nonprofit plans to repurpose existing structures and maintain the culture and history of the park, while also adding new spaces and structures.
Northern Illinois University announced that it will draft a building master plan that outlines what will be done to improve buildings and better utilize space. It will also include residential and academic halls. The focus of the plan will be to bring the campus into the 21st century through better technology in classrooms and adjustments to classroom layouts. Campus leaders plan to seek public input and hold conversations with students, faculty/staff and the surrounding community.
Boston suburb Hingham recently began creating what will be called the Hingham Comprehensive Master Plan. It will place a strong emphasis on citizen engagement and participation in defining the future of the town. That input has become the norm, and as city leaders hear what taxpayers and residents value most, they attempt to allocate funding accordingly. The plan will focus on a number of capital investments that are obvious, but it will encourage input related to other projects.
Planning documents are usually updated toward the end of each year. That makes this an ideal time for companies to check out this type of upcoming opportunities that will be available in regions where they operate.