Downtown Beautification Improvement ad hoc Committee
March 27, 2014
Gresham Room, Ashland Public Library 7:30 a.m.
Attendance Dawkins, Hammond, Jensen, Friend, Seffinger, Thompson, Beam, Lemhouse (Council liaison), Seltzer (staff liaison). Robertson (park liaison)
Absent: Kencairn, David
Guest Dave Kanner (City Administrator)
Call to Order
Vice Chair Thompson called the meeting to order at 7:35 am.
Approval of Minutes
Motion was made by Friend to approve the minutes and seconded by Hammond: All approved.
Neil Stewart passed around a list of Plaza enhancement suggestions. He also presented a model of the Plaza and addressed each enhancement. He recommends replacing the existing trees with London Plane Sycamore trees. He recommends expanding the pavement along the businesses of North Main across from the Plaza to 12 feet. He suggests adding a fountain to the center of the Plaza. He recommends free standing planters and circular seats around each tree. He suggests removing the concrete seat walls and replace the area with groundcover and bushes. He also recommends building a stage four feet off the ground. He volunteers to design and build the improvements and the city would just pay for materials and labor.
David Sherr distributed material he would like included in the record. He then explained his proposal for a slight redesign to the fountain in front of the Black Swan which include sealing the stone per Jim Oleson, raising the water basin and planting flowers in the center.
Staff update on short list projects
Seltzer referred to the information she provided to the committee for each of the short list projects:
1)Remove the asphalt on Lithia Way between Pioneer Street and Oak Street.
Motion by Hammond: Move approval to recommend to the City Council to remove the asphalt, install irrigation, install top soil, order tree grates and wait to plant the tree until October, plant annuals or some other temporary plants to provide color during the summer months. Second by Dawkins, all in favor. Motion passes.
Robertson explained the best time to plant trees is in the fall. The committee will want input from the Tree Commission on the type of trees to plant. Dawkins suggested the committee should consider trees in large planter boxes vs planting in ground.
Motion by Dawkins: Move to recommend to the City Council to move forward with three Welcome to Ashland signs to be placed at three locations: RR trestle, Ashland Street and Siskiyou Boulevard at Tolman Creek Road. Seconded by Beam. Motion passes.
Friend clarified that these signs are “temporary” with the idea that in the near future more artistic styled signs will be installed. The Public Art Commission could have a request for proposals prepared by September, a decision on an artist by March and installation possibly by June of 2015.
It was noted that the charge of the committee was to focus on the downtown area and the signs are not downtown. The committee feels that the signs are the “front door” to the downtown and should be included.
3)Lighting at pathway from New Theater to Main Street
Motion by Dawkins: Move to recommend to the City Council to install a second Sternberg light. Seconded by Jensen. Motion passes.
The committee asked staff to connect with the property owner of Earthly Goods to begin discussion about possibly adding LED lights to the building and the possibility of a mural or other decorative element to the wall.
4)Improve right of way at the corner of Lithia Way and Pioneer in front of Stop and Shop.
Staff will get a survey of the area. Kencairn offered to provide sketches of what could be done to that area. Comments were made about providing seating in front of a business would not necessarily be welcomed by the business. Staff explained there is a need for a retaining wall because of elevation changes but it doesn’t have to be a seat wall.
5)Improve landscape maintenance at city parking lots.
Robertson explained with the Park Commission ban on the use of urbicide, it is very difficult to maintain those areas. It was suggested that new and denser plants be installed, soil amended to inprove plant growth and crowd out weeds. Also suggested was contracting with outside service to do the maintenance. They can spray. Also suggested was sending a communication from the committee to Parks Commission to consider lifting the urbicide ban in some locations including the median along Siskiyou Boulevard and city lot landscaping.
Time constraints did not allow for a full discussion about criteria. Committee members were supportive of the draft criteria put forward by Stef Seffinger.
Next meeting agenda
15 minutes for public input
15 minutes for discussion about criteria
60 minutes to discuss Plaza projects
Meeting adjourned at 9:00 am.