How would you redesign Huntsville’s Main Street?


UPDATE June 19, 2018 – If you are unable to attend the public workshops but would still like to submit feedback or suggestions for the Main Street streetscape, please email Town of Huntsville Executive Director of Planning Services, Derrick Hammond, at [email protected] and Donna Hinde of The Planning Partnership at [email protected]

The Town of Huntsville would like to invite residents to share their thoughts on a Main Street and Kent Park redesign.

The District of Muskoka has slated Main Street construction as a project in 2019 to address below street level water and sewage infrastructure. The Town of Huntsville has the opportunity to rethink and redesign Main Street and Kent Park; so that any future construction can incorporate a new design that reflects the wants and needs of residents and visitors.

How would you like to see Main Street change or stay the same? Would you like to enhance the street trees, planters, lighting, sidewalks, benches or signage? Please share your thoughts at the upcoming Design Workshops noted below. Consultants from The Planning Partnership will lead the design of concepts for Main Street and Kent Park over a three-day consultation period.

June 18th Public Workshop
4:30 pm or 6:30 pm
Algonquin Theatre, Partners Hall, 37 Main Street East

Join a table group discussion and share your thoughts on Main Street and Kent Park: what’s important, what are the key challenges for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists, and what are the best opportunities for change.

June 19th Afternoon Informal Drop In and Public Workshop
Algonquin Theatre, Partner’s Hall, 37 Main Street East, Huntsville ON P1H 1A1

The team will be developing concepts to illustrate a new future for Main Street with options for planting new trees, new flower planters, seating, special paving, lighting, parking and signage. Drop in to review the work in progress anytime between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. Or join the table group discussions to review the concepts for Main Street and Kent Park at 4:30 pm or 6:30 pm.

On June 20th, the team will meet with Town staff and the Steering Committee to provide feedback from the public workshops and to present the emerging preferred concept for Main Street and Kent Park which will be presented to Council in July.

If you would like more information regarding the Streetscape Project or require special accommodation for the public workshops please contact Derrick Hammond at 705-789-1751 ext 2232 or by email at [email protected]

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  1. with options for planting new trees, new flower planters, seating, special paving, lighting, parking and signage.
    All very well. I would just like to be able to locate a parking spot without driving around the block 2-3 times
    or having to walk 2 blocks to reach my favourite stores. The summer tourist season is just a joke.
    Then again Walmart, Huntsville Place Mall, Canadian Tire and independent grocery all have more than enough parking available. Downtown Huntsville is setup for the tourist trade I can’t afford the prices most of the time.
    Just my thoughts.

  2. Valerie McCormick on

    Firstly we need to address the empty unsightly buildings! Mews would be a good idea to attract small businesses that can not afford the very high cost of rent downtown. Make downtown a destination. A small (or large) grocery store would be an asset. I would close off the downtown for walking traffic only like a town square.

    • Love these ideas. More commercial spaces need to be redesigned/redeveloped to allow the downtown core to be trendy and livable. Modernize the downtown core with some eye pleasing stone/wood condominium in the empty lot where the empire has burnt down and allow for affordable rent and small “organic” healthy grocery store next door. 🙂 Green space and more parking

      • wendy brown on

        I personally think it would be nice to make it look old like from when the town was born as much as they can, put the old fountain for horses in front of the town hall like it was years ago only this time it can be a dog fountain. And I also think the downtown at Christmas should do the same have a Victorian night with hot cider and hot chocolate and cookies in all the stores and perhaps sleigh rides with a horse drawn sleigh, or even a Christmas market on the main street for a week or so would draw in a lot of people im sure they could find vendors for it . The Christmas markets in Europe and Britain make a lot of money.

  3. If I were dreaming of a revamp of downtown without paying attention to the cost or other problems, I would use the old Empire Hotel site for additional parking–that tiny bit of parking near the library makes for a hazardous crossing for library patrons. There should be an elevated pedestrian walkway from the new parking lot right across to the doors of the library. I would convert the old parking lot next to what was, at one time, the old Dominion grocery store into an outdoor cafe. I read something about the building itself being converted into a restaurant–so it is a perfect place to put an outdoor cafe, if the restaurant owners were keen. I would, as you suggest, Valerie, close off Main street to vehicular traffic from Centre Street to Brunel, during the summer weekends. (It would necessitate routing traffic around Main Street and that could be a problem and a half on busy weekends–but hey, we’re dreaming, right?) I would move the downtown kid’s playground to the river end of the park and take that space for adding to the parking lot next to the present playground. “That Little Place by the Lights” already has an ice cream shop at that end of the park and other restaurants that back onto the park would benefit as well. High end retailers from S. Ontario should be sought to fill in the storefronts on what would become a pedestrian walkway on summer weekends. Improving the lighting along the walkway would help to extend the store hours on summer weekends as well. We now have enough tourists here during the late spring, summer and early fall to keep those merchants in business for much of the year. Catering to winter tourists is something that the downtown could do well too. Guests to Huntsville are interested in unique offerings, not ordinary fare that they could get back home. Making low-cost space for local artists, artisans and other small businesses would be a great addition to the downtown as well. Muskoka IS unique and we need to capitalize on that. 🙂

  4. Christine Rivière-Anderson on

    Do we always have to cater to cars and always think of parking as our priority ?
    What is wrong with underground parking lots so the land above can be turned into an attractive area of cafés, restaurants, small shops etc., places where people can hang out?
    We need to rethink what we want our town to look like and feel like. And I agree that turning that section of Main Street between Centre Street and Brunel into a pedestrian only section on weekends in the summer time would be perfect and very attractive.

    • I’m sympathetic to your concern, Christine–I hate always having to cater to the auto myself. But adding to parking is a practical necessity, if you want to attract people to downtown. I must confess that I don’t shop downtown as much as I could because I get annoyed by having to search for parking. We could plan parking lots further away from downtown and run mini-buses from them to the downtown areas but that would almost certainly cost more overall, than simply adding to downtown parking. We could put up a six-story parking garage on the old Empire Hotel site, but they are super-ugly and require more policing. Going underground is a nice thought, but considering the near-the-surface bedrock around here, impractical.

  5. Rob Millman on

    Were we invited to share our thoughts in the Doppler comments OR in one of the design workshops? I realize that I have a cognitive disorder; but how do we now that the consultant will even read all these excellent suggestions? I appreciate the comments, because they trigger other thoughts in other febrile minds, BUT please attend one of the workshops as well.

      • Rob Millman on

        I can always count on you, Your Honour: I just want to assure folks that their online suggestions will not necessarily reach THE CONSULTANTS. Participatory democracy is so important; especially for a small town, where you CAN make a difference.
        It’s easy to sit at home and comment; far more difficult to brave summer traffic to comment in person.
        At this time, I should also apologize if any of my negative comments have ever offended you: none is personal, just me climbing up on a favourite hobby-horse.

  6. I would get the patching crew out and patch the obvious holes and cracks that rattle cars as they drive down main street.

    • Scott Aitchison on

      The whole street is going to be rebuilt by the District of Muskoka because they need to replace aging water & sewer pipes underground, so the holes will be fixed…

      The exercise the Town of Huntsville is engaging in is to look at how to design the space so that people are inclined to spend time on the street. Getting in and out of the area, parking, rest areas, street vegetation and lighting are just a few of the topics we need input on so that we can ensure our downtown core is a welcoming place that people want to visit.

  7. What happened to the proposed development at the corner of Brunel and High street. It was to have underground parking, shops and apartments/condos. The cost of Main Street shop rental is crazy high with much ownership out of town based.

  8. Paul Waldron on

    Most of the comments deal with traffic on the main street. We live in an area that vehicles are a necessary.
    How about making the pedestrian areas better, wider sidewalks?
    There is also the problem businesses have with being a seasonal area and having slower winter season. What about heated sidewalks along the street? This would attract people as there would be no snow and ice, stores wouldn’t have to clean the salt and snow and the town would not have to do snow clearing and salting and sanding.

    • Would be fantastic if we had heated sidewalks downtown but a big energy waster unless you can figure out how to get free heating for them. Perhaps a better plan is to have glass-roof sidewalk shelters that could be covered with canvas during the summer months. Lining a significant portion of the sidewalks with benches and flower planters would help to make the downtown more appealing as well. How about getting high school students to work on the benches and make it a real community effort? We have lots of highly skilled carpenters in the area who could supervise. All the town would have to buy is the materials. The back and seats could be made of wood and the bases could be poured concrete with poured concrete flower planters incorporated.

  9. Ginette Bailey on

    We live downtown and walk the main street every day and this is what we see…
    The old Dominion store property is a total disgrace covered in filth and bird droppings everywhere.
    There are properties which have been empty for years on Main Street, they are a disgrace in our town and the owners need to clean them up or tear them down.

    I find comments about adding benches, trees and flowers to the main street very interesting but very impracticle. Have you tried walking downtown in Summer on our already over crowded sidewalks? Closing Main Street to traffic?! In my opinion closing the street to traffic is not an option.

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