Downtown is focus of city meeting

By Burk Krohe

City commissioners will discuss two non-action items focusing on downtown at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting. They will discuss downtown streetscape improvements and as well as parking regulations in that area.

In February, commissioners directed city officials to pursue exploration of about $2.85 million in improvements between Third and Sixth Streets on Poyntz and nearby streets along lines suggested by Bowman, Bowman, Novick, a local architectural firm. Commissioners proposed a 95/5 funding split between the city and downtown business owners, the city using $1 million from the downtown toward its portion and bonding the remaining $1.7 million. Property owners in the area of the improvement would have to contribute about $147,000.

The proposed improvements include replacing curbs and gutters, replacing curbside concrete, replacing trees, new tree well curbs, irrigation, electrical improvements, painting light poles, new mid-block crossings and other streetscape amenities. The improvements will primarily be in the 300, 400 and 500 blocks of Poyntz Avenue. However, 3rd Street and 4th Street will also see some improvements.  Tuesday’s discussion is seen as a step toward moving the plans from the discussion stage toward reality, although since the meeting is a work session no action will be taken.

The parking item is also a follow-up on an earlier discussion. During the summer, commissioners discussed charging for parking at the new parking garage adjacent to the Hilton Garden Inn. Ron Fehr, city manager, said the city might also look at more two-hour parking in the downtown area. Currently, the city receives about $160,000 annually in revenue from parking violations.

But Fehr noted that more monitored parking might require an additional parking services officer, something commissioners will have to weigh Tuesday.

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