Mission is “absolutely” moving in the right direction. That was the assessment of city council member Pat Quinn at a work session last week to review planning and visioning documents that apply to development projects in the city.
Mission has three significant development projects on its current agenda, but the last 15 years have seen substantial change across the retail and commercial landscape in the city. Quinn said the way the city looks now is “so much better” than it did before.
City Administrator Laura Smith reviewed the planning and visioning studies of the past 15 years and the subsequent development that has changed big parts of the city. The area west of downtown has undergone significant development. A series of before and after pictures showed the contrast between the present developments at Mission Crossing and Cornerstone Commons.
Council member Ron Appletoft said the rehabilitation of Johnson Drive is now the impetus for businesses that are moving in along the downtown corridor now. When the east Gateway development and the conversion of a vacant office building to retail and residential, density and income levels will increase, he said. “It will spur more retail on Johnson Drive.”
“There is nothing like downtown Mission,” said Mayor Steve Schowengerdt.
The barriers to development that were identified in the studies are still valid, Smith said. One of those is large surface parking lots that limit density and do not encourage pedestrian use. While recent projects, including the Mission Square apartments, have removed some of the lots, several still remain. The lack of available real estate and assembling small parcels to create a larger footprint also remain impediments to some development.