The consulting firm, MKSK, is exploring ways to make that gateway more appealing and inviting, Plagemann said.
For example, one of the suggestions would be to scale back the parking lot at the shopping center on Patrick Street near Kanawha Boulevard and create more green space, he said.
"Coming off the Patrick Street Bridge, you never see that parking lot completely full," Brannon said. "Why do we need all that pavement?"
Creating green space and a park-like atmosphere near the shopping center not only makes the city gateway more inviting, but it also helps manage storm water runoff, Plagemann said.
This is not a new concept, said Craig Gossman, a principal with MKSK.
Shopping centers in other cities around the country often incorporate large amounts of green space to make the lots more appealing, he said.
He quickly pointed out that the plan will not suggest that the entire parking lot be turned into green space, but that a portion of the pavement could be converted.
"By its very nature, retail is something that demands a significant amount of parking," Gossman said.
But the parking spaces do not have to push right up to Patrick Street, Gossman said. The shopping center is also underserved in terms of restaurants.
"We're looking at creating a better place where you can shop," Gossman said.
Another city gateway is the Elk City Historic District on the West Side that is made of up the area along Washington Street West from Pennsylvania Avenue to near Ohio Avenue, Plagemann said.
"We're really not looking at making that area greener, it's about making the buildings there look better," he said.
Connecting downtown with other areas such as the East End via bike paths will be another topic discussed at the open house.
A proposed bike path along Virginia Street East to Greenbrier Street and then back up Quarrier Street into downtown is scheduled to come up, Brannon said.