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Ashland plans to spruce up town

Range of aesthetic and safety projects planned
 Posted: 2:00 AM April 09, 2014

Ashland is planning several quick projects to spruce up the town before the height of the summer tourist season.

The City Council recently approved short-term aesthetic and safety improvements that had been recommended by the Downtown Beautification Improvement Ad Hoc Committee.

Visitors will see three new "Welcome to Ashland" signs at a cost of $3,150 total. They'll be installed near a railroad trestle on North Main Street, at Siskiyou Boulevard and Tolman Creek Road and on Ashland Street near Exit 14. The city may spend $3,000 more if it decides to light the signs.

The city will replace unsightly asphalt along a sidewalk on Lithia Way between Oak and Pioneer streets with soil and possibly flowers at a cost of $12,500.

In the fall, the city will add a row of trees and tree grates to help Lithia Way more closely resemble the rest of downtown.

A new pedestrian-scale street light costing $3,000 will illuminate a dark walkway that connects Main Street with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Thomas Theatre.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department has been tasked with improving the landscaping around city-owned downtown parking lots, which are suffering from sparse plantings and weeds, according to the ad hoc committee.

A parks department policy not to use herbicides in most cases has created maintenance difficulties. Landscaping at a Lithia Way parking lot was recently maintained by people who had been required to perform community service, according to staff.

A final short-term project will involve improving a messy triangle of dirt, bark chips and concrete next to a convenience store at the intersection of Lithia Way and Pioneer Street. The corner is home to a public art sculpture resembling columns of rock. Costs and other details are yet to be determined.

The short-term projects will be paid for with city lodging tax revenue. The city has about $62,000 earmarked for improvement projects each year.

The ad hoc committee is continuing to work on prioritizing and formulating recommendations for longer-term improvement projects.

Some residents would like improvement dollars spent to replace dark gray pavers that were installed as part of a controversial downtown Plaza renovation project.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.


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