What's Happened Already
Ashland’s Plaza's most recent big makeover was completed in the spring of 2013. Some townsfolk objected to the newly installed expanse of gray pavers, noting they are dark, unattractive and made it hot. Old trees were transplanted or died, some likely from root-cutting in construction. Emotions ran high and still do.
What’s Happening Now
The Ashland Downtown Beautification Committee was formed to identify and prioritize improvements projects with a focus on the downtown. The projects will be paid for with city hotel tax revenue. The committee recommended additional Plaza fixes costing $30,000, including replacing some of the dark gray pavers with decorative pavers and adding planters, landscaping and decorative fencing to keep people from trampling the landscaping. (Correction: These summaries have been updated to clarify details.)
The committee is due to presents the plan to the city council at its Sept. 2 meeting. The committee didn’t mention adding tables and chairs. Some council members argue for the furniture but others oppose it, on grounds it would invite vandalism and mis-use at night. If approved the changes would be done by June 2015.
I’d like to see something happen here but at a reasonable price. It needs a less urban look. Ashland is a small town and it should fit in with the rest of the architectural beauty of the town. I’d like to see more color. There’s no shade and it’s too hot here. That’s why you see no people here now.
(Remodeling) sounds good. I didn’t have a problem with it in the first place, before the remodel. It’s kind of boring now. It would be nice to have something different to make it nicer.
Ashland is a unique place and adding some color would make it pop and make Ashland more unique. The $30,000 is a lot of money but we’re still in a tough economy so it will supply jobs in Ashland and bring more attraction to the downtown area. The Plaza looks dull and could use more color.
It looks ok now. I don’t think we need to spend another $30,000 on it. It’s dumping money into something that’s not helping the city too much. What it looks like now is there’s a giant dead tree standing in the middle of it. And you’ve got so many trucks just using it as a loading dock all day.
Councilman Greg Lemhouse
The Plaza looks much better than what it was. A year ago, there was little seating, the grass had died and wouldn’t grow back in places, a tree was dying. It was very dilapidated. ...The funding comes from the Transitory Occupation Tax (on rooms) and must be used on tourism-related projects that ... increase visibility and enhance tourism