There was agreement that Washington Street is a tremendous asset to the city for its collection of small, locally owned shops, historic architecture, and pedestrian-friendly character. It was also agreed that new ground floor convenience retail should be located adjacent to the new transit stops and that mixed-use development would be appropriate in these areas. Many in attendance further concurred that there is a role for cultural activities and certain limited industries in future mixed-use redevelopments. One matter on which there was little agreement was how to accommodate new demand for retail and commercial uses.
What also came out of this meeting - as well as a successful meeting with our business community earlier in the month - was a sense that we can control our city's economic future. Hoboken's population has grown in the last decade, as has its spending power. The amount of money being spent in the City in coming years will continue to increase as the new office buildings on our southern waterfront fill with employees. Our existing small businesses will be able to tap into this growing market, and there will be opportunities to attract new businesses and services to Hoboken. The master plan will formulate policies that will result in needed amenities for residents as well as beneficial economic growth for our community.
The remaining three workshops this fall will address other topics of importance to our city: infrastructure and community resources on Oct. 22, buildings and housing on Nov. 7, and transportation on Dec. 11. These topics will be addressed in more detail in future columns. We also anticipate that a geographic information system (GIS) for our city will be completed shortly. Hoboken is one of the few major municipalities that does not currently have such a system. Among other functions, this digital mapping system will enable the storage and retrieval of extensive geographic data for use in the Master Plan and future studies.
I would like to thank all of the residents and business owners who have attended the previous meeting. Your comments have been tremendously valuable as we seek public participation in identifying the attributes and weaknesses in our community. I hope those who attended will continue to come to future session, and I encourage those who have not participated to join the dialogue and have your voices heard.