ASHLAND The city of Ashland is budgeting $1.35 million for streetscaping and the renovation of Judd Plaza in fiscal year 2020.
The upgrades in city streets in the downtown corridor are part of a long-term plan to upgrade the look and feel of streets with a focus on downtown. The city has spent $1.6 million on upgrades to downtown streetscaping since fiscal year 2006.
The streetscaping involves renovating city streets to create a more urban and hometown feel to the community. The project has faced some obstacles in recent years when the budget didn’t allow for the upgrades. The original completion date has been pushed back and city officials aren’t sure when the project will be finished.
The comprehensive plan originally had upgrades being finished by 2034. The city expects it may take longer and the municipality is developing a new timeline for completion to streetscape upgrades.
“It really depends on the budget,” said Michael Graese, Ashland City Manager. “We had a fair amount of money to dedicate to it this year. It has been a good year (for streetscaping).” Each city block cost $350,000 to $400,000 to renovate. Renovations for each block include new sidewalk paving, trees, light fixtures, benches, bricking on sidewalks and mastarms.
The city is trying to stay as close to a historic design as possible while modernizing downtown.
Originally the renovations were supposed to start on 13th Street and end on 18th Street. They have since expanded the renovations to start at 12th Street because the area serves as an entry point into the city.
So far, 13th to 14th Street and 14th to 15th Street have been completed. Seventeenth to 18th Street are half completed and 12th and 13th streets are in progress.
“To most people, streetscape may not mean that much to them,” said city engineer Ryan Eastwood. “(They may) look at it and think it looks ‘better and fresh,’ but are probably more inconvenienced by the construction itself. It (streetscape) does have an impact to the look of the town.”
The city has been applying for grants and if approved they will be able make more progress toward finishing the project.