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Plaza and homeless hot topics

City Council to consider new homeless center and next step for new Plaza
 Posted: 2:00 AM January 14, 2013

During meetings tonight and Tuesday night, the Ashland City Council will discuss the next steps on a stalled plan to create a homeless resources day center in town, a proposal to use part of the downtown Plaza for an artisans market and whether to approve a bid for Plaza reconstruction work.

Tonight's study session starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Development Department and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way.

Study sessions are open to the public, but councilors don't usually take public comment.

Councilors will discuss a request from the Lithia Artisans Market to use a part of the downtown Plaza for part of the market.

Artisans, who are tucked behind Plaza businesses when the market operates, have said they need to expand into a more visible location.

City Administrator Dave Kanner has recommended that the artisans go through the city's planning process to try and win approval for the expansion.

That would cost $1,100 and would take two to four months to complete, but it would give community members and neighboring businesses a chance to weigh in on the decision, Kanner told councilors in a memo.

Also tonight, councilors will discuss what the next steps should be, if any, after a proposal to open a day use resource center for homeless people stalled.

In late 2012, the council offered a grant of up to $50,000 over two years to cover lease and facility costs for a nonprofit group to launch such a center.

No groups stepped forward with proposals to try and win the funding.

The council's Tuesday meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

Among other agenda items, councilors will decide whether to approve a $139,700 contract for Ausland Group to lay pavers and pour concrete as part of a redesign of the downtown Plaza that is under way.

For more details on the agenda items for tonight's and Tuesday's meetings, visit ashland.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=475.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.


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