Downtown Beautification Improvement ad hoc Committee
May 08, 2014
Gresham Room, Ashland Public Library 7:30 a.m.
Attendance: Dawkins, Hammond, Jensen, Friend, Seffinger, Thompson, David, Lemhouse, (Council liaison), Seltzer, Kanner (staff liaisons) Robertson (park liaison)
Absent: Beam, Kencairn
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 am.
Approval of Minutes
Minutes of the April 17 meeting were approved.
1)Executive Director Cynthia Rider of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival supports some beautification improvements for the Black Swan Fountain until the Festival has the resources to design and implement improvements for the entire Chatauqua Square which may not occur for several years.
2)Katharine Thaldon requests the committee earmark funds for a future Plaza re-design.
3)David Sherr likes the Calle, congratulated the Parks Department and encourages the committee to seek guidance from them for Plaza improvements.
Review of high priority projects
Before addressing the priority projects City Administrator Dave Kanner reminded the committee their role was not to design the improvements but to identify projects for recommendation to the Council. The committee is not charged with “solving” the improvement but to identify the needed improvement. In addition, Kanner explained that a number of projects that surfaced as “improvements” were in fact maintenance items. All the maintenance items will be sent to the appropriate departments for review and to incorporate into their schedule. Kanner also explained the TOT funds cannot be used for maintenance only for capital improvements.
High Priority Projects
The committee reviewed the projects that were ranked as the highest priority projects. The committee noted that during the “short term project” discussion they had already voted to install artistic signs at the north and south entrances and to make improvements at the corner of Lithia Way and Pioneer.
Motion: Dawkins/Hammon to approve the list of high priority projects as listed.
Motion to amend: Friend/Dawkins to remove historical markers from the list.
Discussion: Friend supports the concept of historical markers but does not consider them as a high priority and feels there are funding opportunities, other than TOT, for that type of project. Jensen also feels historical markers do not belong in this category.
Vote: Three in favor to remove, three in favor to keep and one abstention. Motion fails.
Parks Director Don Robertson asked to speak about circular seats around trees. This item is on the high priority list. Robertson explained the circular seats pose potential damage to the trees for two reasons: one people leaning back on the trees and more importantly, people standing on the seats and hanging from branches. He does not recommend this project from the standpoint of tree health.
David commented that circular seats are not comfortable for conversing since one must twist slightly to see the adjacent person.
Friend commented that circular seating is very popular in Mexico but only around very large and fully mature trees. She thinks it would look odd around immature trees.
Jensen and Seffinger both agree circular seating could risk the health of the trees.
Motion to amend original motion: Friend/Dawkins remove the circular seating around the trees from the list of high priority projects. Six in favor of removing circular seating from the high priority project list, one in favor of keeping the circular seating. Motion passes.
Vote on the original motion to approve the list of high priority projects which include:
1)Add denser plants to planting beds in the Plaza
2)Add free standing planters to the Plaza
3)Add historical markers around town.
All in favor. Motion passes.
Councilor Lemhouse encouraged the committee to strive for consensus in their voting and find ways to compromise. Unanimous votes will carry more weight with the Council than split votes.
Kanner explained the next step was for the committee to rank the projects that fell into the medium priority list and the new project list. Committee members were given five dots to place next to each item they felt should be moved into the list of high priority projects.
The following projects were identified:
1)Add accent pavers to the Plaza – 7 dots
2)Add decorative element to the half wall adjacent to Earthly Goods to discourage people sitting on the half wall – 5 dots
3)Add hanging baskets to the pedestrian light posts on East Main – 4 dots
4)Add decorative items to the Plaza pedestrian light posts (since hanging baskets are not an option during this drought season) – 4 dots
5)Add new landscaping at Lithia Way/Pioneer parking lot – 3 dots
6)Add additional off street parking- 3 dots
7)Add pennants at Exit 14 and on Ashland Street – 2 dots
8)Add moveable table and chairs to the Plaza – 2 dots
9)Add improvements to the corner of North Main and Winburn Way – 2 dots
10)Add permeable resin to tree wells without grates – 1 dot
11)Repair downtown sidewalks – 1 dot
12)Add public restrooms – 1 dot
Motion: Seffinger/Dawkins request staff to prepare cost estimates for the projects identified.
All in favor: Motion passes.
Kanner explained it could take a few months and the committee agreed to set their next meeting for Thursday, July 17 at 7:30 am at the Library.
The Council has asked the Downtown Beautification Improvement Committee to consider removing or refurbishing the existing Plaza kiosk used to post community flyers. The cost to replace the roof is $4,000.
Motion: Dawkins/Friend Move to remove the kiosk from the Plaza.
Discussion: City staff explained the kiosk has been in that location for more than 15 years. It was installed to give people a location to post their flyers which previously were being pasted and taped to city light posts. It is well used. Every Monday, parks employees remove all the flyers. During the Plaza construction, new boards were placed on the kiosk and within four months the boards were again full of staple holes. Committee members agreed refurbishing the kiosk would only be beneficial for a few months and asked staff if there were other locations that could serve as a location for people to post flyers.
All in favor: Motion passes.
Meeting adjourned at 9:00
Next meeting: Thursday July 17, 7:30 am.