Weatherford Path to the Future: Many Plans, One Vision

Stan Lynch

Our series on our 2014 Texas Chapter, American Planning Association Awards continues with our part in the Weatherford Path to the Future project, which won in the category of Comprehensive Planning.

The City of Weatherford’s Path to the Future project combined multiple plans and studies to create one vision for Weatherford. This vision includes solutions for the growing city experiencing increased traffic and flooding.

Path to the Future pulled together many entities to create a sustainable flood project; convert abandoned spaces into recreation areas; and develop a thoroughfare plan and downtown bypass to create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown.

“The long term effect is going to be huge,” Weatherford Director of Planning and Development and former Freese and Nichols Planner Craig Farmer said. “We coordinated all the different parts of the plan to create one vision we might not have had otherwise.”

Craig says the Path to the Future video our team produced, using renderings and animations, helped give people an idea of the overall vision and sell the plan.

In addition, we worked with the City to update the thoroughfare plan, perform a traffic study and develop a transportation plan, including a downtown bypass of the intersecting highways around the courthouse.

And we led a team to evaluate the City’s flooding and erosion issues, preserve natural resources and guide the Path to the Future vision to make the city more family and pedestrian friendly. The study started with the watershed because it includes the IH 20 corridor and Holland Lake, the City’s most historic and prized water feature and the place where Freese and Nichols Chairman Emeritus Jim Nichols first learned to swim.

The City Council adopted the plan in January 2014 and work on funded parts of the plan will move forward. A $16.5 million bond issue for downtown improvements failed in November and the City is reviewing other funding options.