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Downtown Revitalization

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Phase 1 gets off the ground

Sandpoint's city council is ready to initiate the first phase of the downtown revitalization effort, a plan completed and presented to the public in March 2002. The first public information meeting will be held tonight at 5:30, at Sandpoint's City Hall.

Phase one for the project includes improvements on Main Street from First Avenue to Third; improvements on Second Avenue from Main St. to Cedar; and a Town Square on the northeast corner of Third and Main.

According to the revitalization newsletter, "The key element of the proposed Phase 1 Downtown Revitalization is a Town Square… The Town Square would be located on the vacant parcel recently acquired by the city, and would also encompass the 'bullpen' area presently blocked off for parking on Main and Third. The Town Square would be an active public space and focal point for community activity. Proposed improvements include an interactive fountain, landscaping, lighting and other architectural features. The Downtown Strategic Plan, which was developed with much community participation in 2001/2002, recommended this Town Square as a cornerstone of the revitalization of the "heart" of Sandpoint."

Improvements to the downtown project area include replacement of sidewalks; new, pedestrian-oriented illumination; street trees; a mid-block pedestrian crossing on Second Avenue between Main and Cedar; and pedestrian "bulb out" intersections at Second and Main as well as at Third and Main. According to the presentation of the Hudson Group, who was hired by the city of Sandpoint to develop the revitalization plan, the "bulb-outs" (rounded curbs which extend into the street at the corners) help to slow down traffic and give greater visibility to pedestrian crossings.

Determining the scope of the proposed Phase 1 of the improvement project developed by the Hudson Group was a steering committee appointed by the city of Sandpoint. This committee consists of downtown business and property owners, representatives of the Downtown Sandpoint Business Association, city council persons, city staff and the project consulting team.

Phase 1 is scheduled for construction in 2003. Future phases are targeted throughout 2007 and involve all areas of downtown Sandpoint located within the square formed by First Avenue, Cedar St., Hwy 95 (Fifth Ave) and Pine St.

The proposed budget for Phase 1 of the plan is $908,500; that money will be obtained from a variety of resources including a proposed Idaho Community Development Block Grant, city utility funds, and a possible Resort City Tax. In addition, the City is proposing that $137,500 of the project will be funded by a Local Improvement District (LID) assessment on the property which fronts the proposed improvements. The assessment is $100 per front foot. Property owners are offered the opportunity to make payments of the assessments at 7% over 15 years.

Sandpoint's city council is slated to hold a formal hearing regarding the proposed LID on Sept. 18 at 5:30 pm at the city council chambers. All property owners in line to be assessed under this LID will receive formal notice of the LID hearing by mail.

Information packets regarding the Phase 1 revitalization will be available at the meeting, or by calling Constance Buxton of the Downtown Sandpoint Business Association at 255-1876. Information is also available from the city of Sandpoint, 263-3310. The steering committee encourages the participation of anyone interested in this process.                        

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Landon Otis

Tagged as:

Sandpoint, DSBA, downtown revitalization

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