Downtown Beautification Improvement ad hoc Committee
March 20, 2014
Gresham Room, Ashland Public Library 7:30 a.m.
e Kencarin, Dawkins, Hammond, David, Jensen, Friend, Seffinger, Thompson, Beam, Lemhouse (Council liaison), Seltzer (staff liaison)
Dave Kanner (City Administrator)
Call to Order
Chair Kencairn called the meeting to order at 7:30 am.
Cynthia Wolf of Adelante Gallery would like the committee to consider improvements to the stairway and walkway from the parking structure to Main Street between Earthly Goods and Starbucks and Adelante Gallery. Wolfe submitted a letter and photos to the committee and addressed her specific concerns including: improved lighting along the staircase and walkway, people sitting on the Earthly Goods ledge and smoking, improved landscaping (possibly planters of flowers). She was especially concerned about the amount of smoke flowing into her business and into the foyer of Earthly Goods and asked about enforcement of the “no-smoking within 10 feet” ordinance.
David Sherr passed out cards with the url of the facebook page related to Plaza petitioners and encouraged the committee members to visit the page for more information. He recommends the committee hire a historian as a consultant for all the downtown improvement projects.
Approval of Minutes
Minutes from the March 11 meeting were approved with corrections.
Discussion of Previously Identified Projects
The committee agreed to go through the list to identify projects that might possibly be completed in the next 8 weeks. The identified the following:
- Improve landscaping at city parking lots (specifically Lithia Way and Pioneer and Water Street)
- Welcome signs at entrances to Ashland
- Remove asphalt adjacent to the curb on Lithia Way between Pioneer and Oak Street (gas station)
- Pedestrian lights adjacent to stairway between parking garage and Main Street
- Improvements to Lithia Way right of way adjacent to Stop and Shop and Café 116
M/S Thompson/Dawkins to focus on the above list of items for the short term. Motion passes.
Landscaping at city parking lots
Action: Seffinger will follow through with parks about improving the landscaping at the parking lots. Lemhouse will ask the Mayor to ask Parks to appoint Bruce Dickens as a liaison between Parks and the Committee.
Kanner noted that there are three locations in need of “welcome to Ashland” signs: at the train trestle, exit 14 and exit 11. Seltzer commented that the committee could go two different directions for signs: simple, square traditional or more as three dimensional artistic signs. Either way, the signs must comply with ODOT standards. Once the committee has a sense of the cost of traditional signs, they could decide whether to move forward in the short term and later replace them with more artistic signs.
Action: Seltzer will research and bring back to the committee an estimate of installing traditional signage and ODOT requirements.
The removal of the asphalt and adding topsoil and new trees is fairly straightforward. The issue is irrigation. Dawkins commented that he recollects that park row is not city property and is owned by the property owner (gas station).
Action: Seltzer will check with Community Development about ownership of that right of way. Seltzer will ask Parks to determine if it would be possible to bring city irrigation to the right of way.
Pedestrian Lighting at Staircase
The committee agreed that lighting and other improvements to the walkway between Earthly Goods and Starbucks could be both a short term and a long term project.
Action: Seltzer will ask the electric department to bid the cost of purchasing and installing lights along the stairway.
All agree that lighting and a possibly a mural along the wall of Earthly Goods would be another improvement but could not be done in the short term. These ideas will be added to the long term list.
The committee has loosely defined “short term” to be projects that can be accomplished in the next 2 months and “long term” as projects that can be accomplished over the next three years.
Thompson would like the committee to consider adding bench maintenance in Bluebird Park and staining the railings at the top to the list of long term projects.
Lemhouse suggests adding two items to the long term list:
1)Consider removal of the sidewalk along East Main (across from Nimbus). Due to the liquidambar trees, the sidewalk has buckled and become a tripping hazard
2)Consider asking downtown property owners to contribute to a sidewalk maintenance fund to pay for cleaning
Action: Seltzer will re-work/re-order the list to reflect the committee decisions.
Improvements to the Black Swan Plaza/Fountain were mentioned and Kanner explained that area is the purview of OSF. OSF is currently working with a landscape designer on a redesign of for that area. He suggests the committee wait until OSF ideas have been developed and then determine how the City can assist.
Hammond asked what is/could be done about graffiti around town. Seltzer explained when graffiti on public property is identified and brought to the city’s attention (usually via My Ashland app) Kip Keaton of APD removes the graffiti. He does not remove graffiti on private property. Seltzer will include information in the city newsletter about the app and graffiti and ask the Chamber to include the same information in its newsletter.
The committee agreed to focus next meeting discussion on:
- Evaluation of the short term list based on staff research
- Criteria development of future projects
Meeting adjourned at 8:55 am.