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DECATUR - The Decatur Park District is encouraging residents to bring their thoughts and concerns about Decatur's Lakefront Enhancement Project to an open house tonight at the Scovill Banquet Facility.

The "community visioning session" will allow the project leaders and community residents to share ideas and develop a plan for Nelson Park and the lakefront.

Project partners kicked off the planning process Feb. 11 at the Community Leaders Breakfast. Members of the design firm chosen to develop a plan for the lakefront, AECOM, then gave a presentation about what they think is possible in Decatur.

Designer Greg Weykamp and economist Chris Brewer described how they will help the community develop park and recreation elements that are attractive to residents but also economically self-sustaining.

The two laid out dozens of ways to develop the lakefront, ranging from unique gardens and pedestrian bridges to retail space.

Tonight, all of those ideas will be posted on the walls at the open house. Residents will be invited to leave comments next to each element to help AECOM learn which ideas will work best for Decatur. The planning firm also will have representatives on hand to gather feedback about the project.

AECOM is based in Chicago, but Weykamp said he and other team members will spend a few days a month in Decatur through the end of summer. A final plan should be ready by the end of the year.

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