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Mayfield Disaster Recovery - Urban Design & Planning

During the late evening of Friday, December 10, 2021, a violent, long-tracked EF4 tornado moved across Western Kentucky, producing severe catastrophic damage in numerous towns. The City of Mayfield was centered in the path of the storm and sustained the worst damage. Catastrophic destruction occurred throughout the community, and within a matter of a few minutes, the downtown urban center and surrounding underserved neighborhoods had completely disappeared.

Bell Engineering was selected the following spring to lead the Rebuilding and Recovery effort for the Community. This project involved working hand in hand with the Mayfield Rebuild Community Recovery Group, Citizens of Mayfield, Community Government, FEMA, and District 10 Highway Department. The 18 month project began first with understanding the real "trauma" the community faced. This was not an ordinary group of concerned citizens with long range community planning interests. The typical Long Range Planning Process needed to be suspended while the community dealt with the massive effort of clean-up and reestablishment of basic services.

Within the silver lining of the storm came the opportunity to completely redefine Mayfield. Slowly the community began to realize that recovery would happen and a desire to "build back better" and build back in a more sustainable, and pedestrian friendly manner became a key focus of the planning effort. Our work involved identifying opportunities for redevelopment and articulating a bold new "vision" for the heart of the community. A plan focused on bringing people and businesses back to downtown through a form based Mixed Use District which fully supported Residential Development, Commercial and Professional Office Development, Retail, Parking and Vehicular Access and Flow, Entertainment, and Recreation. Streetscape and Architectural Design Guidelines and Newly Established Zoning Districts were achieved to support the long range reconstruction.

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