Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Columbus Streetscape Part Un

OK OK - perhaps yesterdays blog was a cop out - but it IS a good show.

CSS Taskforce

MAN! - you would think recreating an entire downtown streetscape inside a budget with strict rules but no one will tell you what the rules actually are and there is a drop dead deadline that if things are not perfect the whole 16/60 reconstruction can be moved back 2 years - NO PRESSURE!!!

Before I forget - stoplights for the BP/ShopKo/Strip mall area is scheduled to take place in 2016 and will cost Columbus zero.  In fact we should GET CSS funds to help  . . . do something.

As for the above streetscape here is the deal.

DOT is funding a MAJOR project from 16/60 all the way through town and by killing downtown business (what there is) they will give us 3% of the total cost (which seems to have worked out to 1.5ish% in reality) to make improvements.  In fact $166,000 worth.

Now you would THINK that $166,000 is a nice chunk of money and would go far right? Well, it sort of does actually IF we get help from metal working businesses in the Columbus area WHICH we have 3 so far penciled in lightly. (Purchasing benches ($2000 each) and trash cans ($1000 each) and bike racks can cost a LOT of money).

ANYWAY - you have read here about my trials and tribulations with trying to understand the unknowable on how things get decided.

As it turns out we have been ultimately dealing with The National Park Service.  WHO KNEW!!  I typically don't think of the The National Park Service being that involved with streetscapes.

Here is the deal.  The F&M bank as we all know is an historic building but it is also an Historic Landmark which is like a top of the line historic building because of it's "Outstanding example of design or construction".

 Seriously - so many photos are taken of that building it's crazy.

So - the problem we were dealing with was colored corners.  In the master plan we will have a striking crosswalks in a dark dark gray outlined with white lines starting from Charles Street at the top of the hill running south all the way through town to Manning.

This will tell motorists on the new super smooth CONCRETE road that they are about to enter a special area.

Once they hit the historical, conical tree lined (3 trees per side) city with new lights they will know to slow down.  Then each corner of the four corners will be colored (a dark lush brown - I can't think of the actual name) with two at-grade planting beds per corner (it's fine, DPW is on board).  

But the main attraction is Dickason Blvd though.

There will be four, 4 foot bumpouts with two bumpouts colored colored and two with normal cement next to the City Hall AND F&M bank, AS PER The National Park Service demand.  Don't get me started as that is ridiculous.  At the very least it's a funny story when people ask why 2 of the 4 corners are colored and two white.

It seems both the City Hall and F&M bank are Historic Landmarks which is pretty darn cool.

BTW - Wikiepedia has Farmers and Merchants Union Bank located at the northwest corner of James Street and Broadway.  BOOM - now you know where the Broadway Theater group got it's name!!  Dickason used to be called Broadway.

Hey Broadway Fans! Keep an eye out when visiting local businesses for these flyers, and make sure to grab a tab! 

So that is the plan and I'm excited. 2017 is the date the band aid gets ripped and the downtown will fester for a summer but only to grow stronger.   I hope I have not been run out of town by then.  Downtown businesses should REALLY be saving $$ as I suspect business will be at least 50% off for a summer.

OH - this reconstruction is going to cost us for sure but Columbus has gained in net worth this past year and we have been preparing for this.  Of course there are unknowns and this is ONLY the historic downtown area that had to pass Smokey the Bear and the rest of the crew with The National Parks.

Did I mention that overhead lines will be buried?  And yes - trees will be lost (and replaced).

OH - I almost forgot - There will be n Art/Sculpture planting island taking up the 1st 2 parking spots in Dickason BLVD . . WITH electricity (thank you Alderman Thom - good call with the electric).

Has anybody noticed what the world stock markets are NOT doing?  We got planes being shot down, economic sanctions with Iraq and Syria and Israel and Gaza and Ukraine and Russia and threats to the global supply to oil and the Scottish government seceding from the UK and world markets have not even blinked.  

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