Event spotlights streetscape plan

Written by Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer November 11, 2010 08:16 am
Everyone interested in the La Grande Main Street’s emerging downtown streetscape plan is invited — and encouraged — to attend an open house on the subject Saturday at Cook Memorial Library.

From 2 to 6:30 p.m. in the Colleen Johnson Community Room, the La Grande Main Street program and the City of La Grande’s Community and Economic Development Department will be presenting design options worked out so far, and gathering input on them.

“Everything’s conceptual at this point. The purpose is to show some ideas and get feedback from local citizens,” said Community and Economic Development Director Charlie Mitchell.

On hand for the event will be Mark Seder, the consultant hired by the City of La Grande to guide the downtown streetscape design process.

In a meeting in September, Seder gathered input, and working from that, he has come up with some preliminary sketches.

Mitchell said that in the short term, design is being worked out for the area downtown called the “Big H,” taking Elm and Depot streets and Adams Avenue between them.

“We agreed that’s the geographic area of focus in the short term, but by no means is it the end of what we plan to do,” Mitchell said.

Design issues include street lighting, building facades, sidewalks and crosswalks, use of open space, traffic flow and more, Mitchell said.

“Some things that have been suggested are quite progressive,” he said, noting that one suggestion in September had to do with changing Elm and Depot to one-way streets, and another with transforming a city parking lot into a public gathering space similar to Max Square at the corner of Fourth and Adams.

Mitchell said he understands some people won’t be able to stay for all of Saturday’s event, but added that he hopes many will drop in, look the design ideas over and vote for the ones they like.

And those who can’t come on Saturday will still have a chance to review what went on the meeting.

The week after the event, design drawings and other material will be displayed in the hallway on the second floor of City Hall. Ballots will be available so people can vote for the design ideas they prefer.

“We want to give people another opportunity to look at it. We want as much public input as possible,” Mitchell said.

He added that that more meetings on the streetscape plan will take place in coming months.

“This won’t by any means be the last opportunity for people to get involved,” he said.