The City of Greenville, South Carolina is requesting SEALED proposals from a qualified urban planning professional firm or team to prepare a comprehensive plan for the west side of the City of Greenville.
The City of Greenville proposes to engage the services of a qualified urban planning professional firm, or team to prepare a comprehensive plan for the west side of the City.
The objective of this RFP is to provide the City with qualified proposers capable of carrying out the work herein defined. The subsequent proposer submissions will form the basis for evaluation, interview, and selection.
2.1 Study Focus
Over the years, many different community plans for the city’s west side have been developed. Though varied in size and scope, all the various plans unite around the common themes of repurposing the community’s blighted and vacant parcels to promote affordable housing, transportation options, economic development opportunities, and open space in the area. As part of the Connections grant, the City seeks to unify the components of these previous studies to form a comprehensive plan that will serve as the foundation for future redevelopment efforts. In order to create a plan that is supported by the community, the planning effort will require a robust public engagement process that will provide insight into the challenges facing the community and help build consensus around an achievable vision for the future of the west side.
The Consultant will:
a. Perform services necessary to achieve the work set out in the Scope of Services.
b. Perform the work within the budget and work program timeframe.
c. Coordinate with Alignment Consultant and City Staff to develop and implement an appropriate outreach plan to encourage public participation.
d. Coordinate with Alignment Consultant and City Staff to develop the programming for steering committee and community meetings.
e. Coordinate with Alignment Consultant to ensure deliverables are created using a common template throughout the project.
(ii) City Staff
The project will be led by Community Development, with input from the project’s City Staff team, including staff from:
a. Planning and Zoning
b. Parks and Recreation Department
c. Economic Development
d. Greenlink (Transit)
(iii) Alignment Consultant
An alignment consultant has been hired to work in partnership with the City, the west side stakeholders, and all consulting teams to connect the various phases of the project together. The Alignment Consultant will help the City guide the projects associated with the Connections for Sustainability grant.
a. The Alignment Consultant will provide assistance to the City staff team and consultant to develop a thorough community meeting/public participation process and conduct public outreach to drive participation in the process.
b. The Alignment Consultant will meet with the Consultant and City staff regularly throughout the development of the West Side Plan and receive written comments on the draft strategy and implementation plan.
c. The Alignment Consultant will serve as an advisor to and resource for the consultant team as needed throughout the process.
d. The Alignment Consultant will coordinate with all relevant consulting teams to ensure all project plans fit similar formats.
(iv) Focus Teams
The Focus Teams were developed as a first phase in the west side planning process. Consisting of residents and stakeholders the four focus group teams have focused on key issues, with a team looking at Housing, Transportation, Economic Development, and Parks, Trails, & Open Space.
a. The Focus Teams have concentrated on their topic area to develop:
i. A list of key issues for the west side regarding their topic;
ii. Some of the relevant best practices and case studies; and
iii. Guiding principles to help steer the planning process.
b. The Focus Teams will report their findings in a presentation to the Consultant at the beginning of the planning process (anticipated in April).
2.3 Inventory and Area Review
(i) Collect existing information and data related to the west side
a. Meet with City staff to identify available information.
b. Meet with Community Development (CD) staff and the Alignment Consultant to take tour of the project area.
c. Review existing plans:
i. Neighborhood Plans
ii. Corridor Plans
iii. Downtown and Streetscape Plans
iv. Bike and Greenway Plans
v. New plans related to the Connection for Sustainability project
(ii) Develop baseline of information related to the west side
a. Utilize existing data reports created by CD.
b. Utilize initial analysis of HUD’s Flagship Sustainability Indicators.
c. Utilize the Housing Market report from the Citywide Housing Strategy.
d. Utilize the Transit Oriented Economic Development Analysis from the BRT/TOeD Feasibility Analysis.
e. Investigate other data sources to create baseline of data for the west side.
(iii) Create a demographic report for the west side area
a. Define the existing demographics (social, housing, and economic).
b. Create baseline for future comparisons.
c. Utilize report to identify indicators or performance measures that can be integrated into the implementation of the West Side Plan.
2.4 Community Consultation
(i) Public Outreach
a. Discuss previous public outreach efforts with CD and the Alignment Consultant team.
b. Work with Alignment Consultant to develop an Outreach Plan that will help to notify and motivate the west side community to participate in the public engagement process.
c. Utilize creative approaches to reach and work with residents including those in typically hard to reach populations.
(ii) Define Key Issues and Guiding Principles
a. Meet with the Focus Teams as they present their initial investigation and discovery of their topics.
b. Utilize results of Focus Team interviews, including Value-Laddering results.
c. Consider holding individual interviews or small group meetings with key stakeholders and residents.
d. Consider various survey methods that could be used to gather input from the community.
e. Utilize the City’s Connections for Sustainability webpage (connections.greenvillesc.gov) to collect ideas and input related to the west side and to provide feedback and benchmarks to residents and stakeholders.
(iii) Steering Committee
a. The steering committee will be established to:
i. Provide community input to the consultants.
ii. Assist the consultants in solving some of the more detailed planning issues.
iii. Review and give feedback to consultant presentations in advance of advance of public meetings.
b. Members of the Focus Teams may be utilized to form the Steering Committee, and at a minimum, the steering committee would include representatives from:
i. Community organizations (neighborhood associations, environmental protection groups, etc.)
ii. Residents from the west side area
iii. Elected officials
iv. City Council
v. Economic and business development organizations (Chamber of Commerce, development firms, etc.)
vi. City’s Youth Commission
c. It is anticipated that the Steering Committee would meet 3-4 times during the planning process.
(iv) Public Meetings and Charrette
a. It is anticipated that the Consultants will work with the Alignment Consultant team and the Project Staff to hold 3-4 public meetings over the duration of the project.
b. The meetings will serve to both:
i. Inform the public on the planning process and the findings from the project; and,
ii. Collect information from the public to be used in creation of the West Side Plan.
c. It is expected that there will be an opportunity for input at all of the meetings.
d. One of the consultant visits should incorporate a charrette or similar process that elicit a significant amount of input and information from the residents and stakeholders in a variety of ways, synthesize input, and provide a presentation back to the community at the conclusion of the visit.
(v) City Council Workshops
It is anticipated that the Consultants will meet approximately two times with the City Council in a work session to inform them of the process and its progress.
2.5 Elements for West Side Plan
a. Incorporate goals established in the Citywide Housing Strategy and define how the housing toolkit may be implemented in the west side area.
b. Evaluate the existing infrastructure and services in place to serve the homeless population.
c. Evaluate demographic trends in the neighborhoods and highlight ways the neighborhood can do a better job of generational retention.
d. Retain existing character of neighborhood.
e. With a focus on sustainability, evaluate efforts that may help the area become a leader in energy efficiency.
f. Identify best practices to reduce displacement from gentrification.
g. Identify key areas where housing redevelopment, development, and rehabilitation make sense.
h. Provide conceptual plans for key sites that would infill concepts, and possible new development.
i. Provide guidance for existing and new housing design that is compatible with the existing neighborhood.
a. Anticipate potential benefits to the community for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and corresponding Transit Oriented Economic Development (TOeD) that could be located through the west side.
b. Evaluate the existing transit system (routes and stops) and determine gaps in service and provide ideas on how to connect residents with employment opportunities.
c. Evaluate pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as well as street connectivity in order to suggest improvements that will better link residents with nearby community facilities, public services, and employment centers.
(iii) Parks, Trails, and Open Space
a. Evaluate and propose solutions for barriers that currently separate the neighborhoods from accessing amenities located along the Reedy River, including the Swamp Rabbit Trail, Salvation Army Kroc Center, AJ Whittenberg Elementary School, and potential park.
b. Identify locations in the community that may be appropriate for pocket parks.
c. Identify potential infrastructure improvements that may help improve pedestrian and bicycle safety.
d. Provide conceptual framework design for parks and open spaces throughout the neighborhood that relates the above objectives to the investment opportunities in housing and corridor redevelopment.
(iv) Economic Development
a. Develop land use plan to help guide future redevelopment opportunities.
b. Evaluate the opportunities for revitalization along the west side corridors and in areas near the mills.
c. Provide conceptual design plans (or revisit existing design plans) for sensitive infill development along commercial corridors adjacent to the neighborhoods.
d. Evaluate Food Systems and local food sources for the neighborhoods, including an evaluation of food stores and farmer markets servicing the area.
e. Identify best practices for increasing investment along the corridor.
f. Identify workforce development needs to bridge skills gap between residents and new jobs coming to the area.
g. Recommend creative economic development opportunities that will engage neighborhood residents and the overall community in the west side.
a. Define community events that would engage the surrounding population including activities that would be appropriate for teens and seniors.
b. Work with residents and the alignment consultant (possibly other groups) to help document the history of the community.
c. Encourage investment and social cohesion in the area by developing a community image or brand, in conjunction with the Alignment Consultant.
d. Evaluate the opportunities for community gardens to build a greater sense of community and provide the neighborhoods with a healthy and local food source.
e. Identify locations that would be acceptable for public art and work with the neighborhood to help envision ideas for what type of public art would be appropriate for the area.
a. Concepts and recommendations above should be presented in a format that allows stakeholders to easily interpret the recommendations.
b. Alternative scenarios exploring options and impacts should be considered as part of the planning process.
c. Tools that should be considered would be:
i. Three dimensional modeling of the neighborhood showing recommendations
ii. Before and after renderings of key buildings and sites illustrating recommendations
iii. Overall illustrative master plan drawing identifying recommendations that impact the way the area will look.
iv. Detailed illustrations, plans, and or models of key sites that warrant additional explanation.
a. A thorough and practical implementation plan will be a critical component of the plan. The implementation plan shall:
i. Identify policies and support functions that can be directly implemented by the City of Greenville.
ii. Create avenues for support from outside agencies, including state and federal governments, non-profit organizations, and private partners and foundations.
iii. Empower citizen participants to mobilize to support the plan.
b. The implementation plan should include approximate time horizons, conceptual budgets, potential funding sources for recommendations, and a designation of responsible parties to implement each recommendation.
c. The implementation plan should help to frame options for prioritization of action items.
2.6 City Provided Items
The City will provide to the consultant the following information:
a. Plan-it Greenville: The City of Greenville’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan
b. 2010-2015 Consolidated Plan
c. 2003 Housing Strategy
d. 2012 BRT Feasibility Study
e. 2012 Housing Strategy
f. Relevant Neighborhood Area Plans
g. City Maps/GIS data
h. Other information and data as requested by the Consultant and deemed pertinent by City staff.
2.7 Project Schedule Timeline
The project is expected to last approximately 240 days from the notice to proceed date, with a completion date no later than December 20, 2013. If the proposer feels this is not an adequate time line for projection completion, requests for extension must be given in writing with explanation in the project proposal.