Editor's note: This story is part of a series looking back at some of the biggest stories of 2018. Find the rest of the series here: Top Ten 2018.

As traffic on Highway 3 through Farmington continues to increase, city officials have taken steps to improve the corridor to meet growing demand and capitalize on potential opportunity.

In October, Farmington City Council approved a contract with WSB & Associates for $39,995 to develop a plan for the Highway 3 Corridor. The plan may take six months to complete.

The Farmington Economic Development Authority previously reviewed and approved the firm's proposal before it was sent to City Council for approval of the contract.

"Being that it is one of the oldest commercial corridors in the community, there are a number of different uses on Highway 3 on either side, some of which is commercial, some of which is residential and there is some other mixed in there on land within Farmington," Community Development Director Adam Kienberger said at the time the contract was approved.

At a November open house, residents shared concerns and suggestions regarding the project.

"For me, there are some concerns, but we actually live on a frontage road to Highway 3 and where we are, there are four lanes already," said Farmington resident Tammy Helgestad. "I see people wanting four lanes going from Rosemount to Farmington and I understand that, but what they have to realize is to do that, you have got to take people's property."

A joint meeting of the City Council, Economic Development Authority and Planning Commission on Dec. 10 allowed further exploration of residents' input.

Ideas ranged from additional sidewalks and pedestrian trails to improved curb appeal and destination stop such as a brewery or small business retail.

Many of the concerns highlighted at the meeting included drainage issues, safety concerns for both motorists and pedestrians as well as vehicle noise for residents along the corridor.

As the project moves forward, city staff plans to work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Dakota County, Empire Township, Farmington Planning Commission and Farmington Economic Development Authority.

Six service areas

The Highway 3 Corridor project will address six areas:

• Review existing land use designations on Highway 3 corridor from County Road 66 to the southern border, one block on either side.

• Call for a review and recommendation regarding the current zoning ordinance requirements for the project area.

• Identify type, scale and possible locations for additional residential, commercial and mixed-use projects, along with preliminary market feasibility.

• Incorporate future transportation improvements and pedestrian connections needed or required to facilitate additional redevelopment.

• Identify and recommend various financing tools and programs that could be considered to facilitate future redevelopment efforts.

• Review current architectural design guidelines, current streetscape design standards, signage standards and utilize development tools.

For more information on the project, visit the Community Development page at www.farmingtonmn.gov.