Phase I for activating the downtown

Council considers plans

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council heard information on projects and activities to “activate” the downtown during Monday evening’s workshop session.

Sidney Alive Executive Director Amy Breinich provided an annual update on Sidney Alive which included the vision for the organization’s next five years. In conjunction with this presentation, Freytag Associates also presented a cost estimate for the first phase to activate downtown.

“Any downtown and neighborhood revitalization strategy to be successful and sustainable requires strong and active participation from all sectors of the community. This is especially true in smaller communities, where municipal governments do not have the resources to put into place every initiative.” Breinich said, quoting the Sidney downtown and riverfront development strategy at the beginning of the next five year vision.

The community can continue to be engaged in the various, following ways, she said, as the strategy moves into the “implementation phase”:

• Participation in the creation and administration of the proposed Downtown Investment Fund and proposed Neighborhood Investment Fund;

• Corporate support for the creation and the marketing of in-town, downtown and neighborhoods, housing opportunities by providing information/assistance on affordable neighborhood options, leasing guarantees and/or down payment assistance programs for employers who purchase homes in target neighborhood;

• Favorable financing of new infill development projects;

• Support of downtown public art/icon/bike rack initiatives;

• Attention by the local real estate brokerage community to the downtown neighborhoods as viable and attractive housing locations.

Her report also showed the following implementation responsibilities:

• Collective intent, energy, resources, and advocacy of all of downtown’s stakeholders and those who understand the critical role that downtown plays in the long-term economic health and vitality of the community.

• The greater the number of individuals and organization with “ownership” of the strategy, the stronger it will become and significantly increase its success and sustainability.

Following Breinich’s presentation on the downtown, John and Adam Freytag, of Freytag & Associates Inc. Architects Engineers, provided a recap of the downtown Sidney development strategy and a cost estimate for phase I plans for Piper Park, enhancements to the streetscape and courthouse square.

Weaved throughout the PowerPoint, were photographs or drawings illustrating potential improvement ideas of ways to activate sidewalks in front of businesses, how to better utilize Piper Park, showed the use of pedlets or parklets, add bike parking that also serves as street art and improved way-finding signage in the downtown. Others ideas depicted include food trucks, and twinkle lighting and open streets during scheduled times for restaurant or retail business events in certain areas downtown.

John Freytag also highlighted new brick paver patios near the new mid-block crosswalks and spoke about new hanging flower baskets, wrought iron bike racks and lighting for Piper Park.

The cost for phase I is estimated at $191,000. John Freytag noted because of market volatility in construction materials, the total was subject to significant swings.

After some brief discussion as to how which projects were choosen to be included in phase I, Mayor Mike Barhorst told Freytag council members will consider the information presented and will get back with them with direction.

Council considers plans

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.