City officials have scheduled two public meetings to gather residents' comments as they make new plans for Canal Winchester's Old Town area.

City officials have scheduled two public meetings to gather residents' comments as they make new plans for Canal Winchester's Old Town area.

The first meeting is set for 6 p.m. May 25; the second will be held Aug. 17.

Both will start at 6 p.m. at the Frances Steube Community Center, 30 S. Trine St.

"The first meeting will help set the parameters and vision for the plan and the second meeting will be to review the draft plan and seek public input on the proposed concepts," Development Director Lucas Haire said.

Online comments about the project can be made at www.CWOldTownPlan.com.

The updated plan for the future of its Old Town area will serve as the blueprint for how it will develop over the next five to 10 years, Haire said.

In February, the city hired OH&M Advisors to assist with the update, for a fee not to exceed $30,000. The original Old Town plan was completed in 2001.

"This updated plan will help set the vision for the future of the historic district of Canal Winchester and will help guide public and private investment in the area for the next decade," Haire said.

Haire is a member of a task force of local residents and business owners who were appointed to oversee the planning process. He said they are meeting monthly to review and guide the consultant's work.

The other members of the task force are Bruce Jarvis, Canal Winchester City Counci; Joe Donahue, Canal Winchester Planning Commission; Pat Lynch, Canal Winchester Landmarks Commission; Bob Wood II, Old Town property owner; Polly McCormick, owner of Georgie Emerson Vintage; Mark Savino, owner of the Wigwam Restaurant; and Brad Richey, a Canal Winchester resident.

Haire said a group of stakeholders who have a direct interest in Old Town will be interviewed during the process to gain their insight as well.

Erin Moriarty, a planner with OH&M Advisors, said the task force consists of residents and business people who were chosen by city officials. The task force then nominated the stakeholders.

"We are trying to get a well-rounded demographic so we get in-depth insight," she said. "We encourage young professionals and high-schoolers to come and share their views ... This plan is meant to benefit the entire town of Canal Winchester.

"People in the Columbus region are starting to take more notice of Canal Winchester, especially with the addition of BrewDog. It is important that current residents take part in guiding future development," Moriarty said.

The Old Town planning area includes Waterloo and High streets as the main focal points, as well as streets within that area, such as Washington, Columbus and Trine, according to Moriarty.

"Our study area focuses on the historic and preservation districts as determined by the city," she said. "Old Town has a lot going for it already, with historic charm and independent businesses. We want to build on that momentum and create a plan that will help the area to really thrive."

The May 25 public meeting will give area residents and businesspeople the chance to ask OH&M representatives about the process and to discuss new ideas, she said.

"We try to keep public meetings informative, but also fun and interactive," Moriarty said

The project will encompass future land-use plans, zoning, public improvement, and site-analysis type of work, Haire said.

Mayor Michael Ebert said the planning process is important to preserve the integrity of Canal Winchester's historic downtown.

"Helping to preserve that historic feel is important to our downtown plan," he said. "I expect many residents and businesses will help with the planning process as our downtown continues to prosper from tourism and local residents."