Carson City residents give views on downtown makeover

Steve Noll, left, of Design Workshop talks with Carson City residents David and Elinor Bugli about the downtown improvement plan on Monday.

Steve Noll, left, of Design Workshop talks with Carson City residents David and Elinor Bugli about the downtown improvement plan on Monday.

Carson City residents provided their preferences for pavers, pedestrian buffers, bike racks, benches and other accents during two downtown makeover design sessions Monday.

More than 60 citizens turned out for the open house that began at 12:30 p.m., another 35 for the 5:30 p.m. session in the Carson City Community Center, to give their input now that the downtown revitalization project has reached the 30 percent design stage. More open house sessions before the end of 2015 will be held at the 60 percent and 90 percent design stages.

“We’re going to combine all of the input that we get and put it into a database, if you will,” said Mike Bennett of Lumos & Associates, Inc. of Carson City, lead design firm. “We’re going to be available, basically, the rest of this year.”

Those participating Monday voted via a device for their favorites from among three to five conceptual design elements depicting colored pavers, concrete paving materials, low wall options, pedestrian buffer options that included both landscape greenery or fence and gated looks, differing bike racks, a range of trash receptacles and various benches,

Bennett reminded participants a theme based on city history had been chosen at an earlier open house. He and Danny Rotter of city Public Works retraced the project’s process from 2005 until now, A recession intervened and the proposed downtown streetscape makeover has changed over time. It now envisions three traffic lanes with a middle lane for turns, two bike lanes and widened sidewalks, among other things, along 14 blocks of Carson Street.

Bennett said there would be about 40 parking spots along the Carson Street corridor, He also said there would be 110 trees along the corridor to add ambiance despite the loss of the median.

The design includes a community plaza on a closed West 3rd street and an eventual makeover of four blocks on Curry Street parallel to Carson a block to the west. The Carson Street and plaza changes will be done initially beginning in 2016. The major business corridor portion price tag is pegged at about $11 million. The goal is enhanced street life by pedestrians based on a complete streets concept.

Steve Noll of Design Workshop ran the session, calling for votes after describing options briefly. Yet for most questions he tried to convey the options shown via slides or in handouts were conceptual rather than definitive at this stage. He also said heading south to north, three areas are viewed as parklike near government buildings, a commercial core district, and finally a transition area to the north along Carson Street.

Bennett, meanwhile, said the next task is to meet with property and business owners in the downtown to work toward 60 percent design and, as an example, determine key spots for the parking.

He said the 30 percent stage shown Monday included a couple of nose-in parking spaces in most blocks, but where they would go in a final design may dovetail with input from those commercial interests. Both he and Noll also talked about places where public art may eventually go. Before the voting, a nearly five minute video depicting the design to date was shown, including scenes of the proposed plaza.

The community plaza part of the video depicted both an entertainment stage and a water treatment, as has been discussed previously.


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