City officials meet to discuss plans for Shotwell and Scott Street

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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Last week, members of the city government and the community gathered for public meetings to discuss improvement plans for Shotwell and Scott Street. Consultant John Ford with Robert & Company led the presentation, having conducted a study on the specified areas around those streets. The primary topics of focus in these studies included: corridor safety, road access, cultural preservation, what the actual planning area is, and what the next steps would be. While the meetings were open to the public, outside Ford and city employees such as Gabe Menendez and Steve O’Neil, few people attended each.

“What we have discovered over planning,” Ford said, “and I’ve been in planning since 1974, we’ve discovered the public input really helps to enrich the planning process, because we ask questions that help us resolve ‘Where are we going? What are we doing? Why are we doing it this way?’”

According to Ford, for this study, he reviewed the census demographic statistics for the various neighborhoods of Bainbridge, specifically focusing on areas around Scott and Shotwell, as well as personal income. This led to the conclusion that the personal income for the southwest portion of the city is approximately $19,000 per person, while it’s roughly $16,000 per person in the northeast portion and $15,000 in the southeast. “So you can see that it’s not a heavy amount of income, but when you compare it to the personal income for Bainbridge as a city, it’s about $22,000 per year,” he said. “So this is not the richest part of Bainbridge, from a demographic standpoint. But it has some of the most important, for a lot of people, commercial establishments in the city.”

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Ford also calculated the amount of traffic for each street, with the main strip of Shotwell, from the mall to Winn-Dixie seeing between 10,000 and 13,000 vehicles a day.

Community development director Steve O’Neil clarified to the Post-Searchlight that these studies and meetings are currently just exploratory in nature. “It’s very much high-level exploratory,” he said,” figuring out what’s possible, what are our overall goals for that area.” Safety issues were brought up at both meetings, and are seen as top priority. “Where we go from there, we’re still trying to assess and figure out.”

O’Neil also stated that there will be more opportunities in the future for public participation in this discussion. He stated that if anyone had any further questions or concerns, to email him (