Specific observations of the current Center Street design stated that the sidewalks are too narrow, head-in parking is dangerous and the center median landscaping blocks views and prevents movement along median. With these observations in mind, the Master Plan recommends several major streetscape improvements that will widen Center Street sidewalks, remove head-in parking and include a parallel parking lane along the sidewalk edge and increase the width of the center median to allow for a center walkway and two rows of large canopy type trees. It also states the need to go underground with all of the overhead service lines. Noting that this plan will decrease the on-street parking units, it specifically identifies locations for new and expanded parking lots and further states that some can eventually be constructed as parking garages. Other important plan recommendations include the creation and adoption of design guidelines to ensure quality development in the commercial core area, the historic neighborhoods and the transitional area between the two.
Essentially, no substantial changes have been made to the Final Plan from its draft form presented to the public at the last series of public forums and as presented to Council with the exception of some minor alterations as suggested by staff and Council. Therefore, knowing that the City Council is in support of the Plan’s agenda and is very committed to affecting positive change to the commercial center of downtown as well as the integral surrounding historic neighborhoods, staff is requesting that the Council officially adopt the Plan as a tool to guide downtown development over the course of the next ten years.