Tom Wills and Mary Hockenbery of the Hotchkiss Planning Commission gave an update to the Hotchkiss Town Council on Dec. 13 on their downtown improvement project.
Wills gave a report to the council stating the downtown improvement project is a five-year "ongoing, sustainable project to improve the visual look of downtown."
The planning commission will supervise writing the official downtown improvement plan and will have it as part of the town's revised master plan.
The commission's report said the town and the chamber "are limited in the ways they can actively create economic development but downtown improvement is a generally accepted first step."
The initiative will hopefully spawn civic pride and be a project that "everyone can share in."
In 2012 the planning commission, Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Hotchkiss and citizens worked together to get the improvements started.
New whiskey barrels with flowers were added on Bridge Street. Volunteers handled the planting of the flowers, watering and maintenance throughout the season. The initial project had an $800 budget.
The planning commission hopes to add mine timber planters this year to "make the corner at First and Bridge really jump out," Wills said. They also want to accomplish some improvements in the alley next to the North Fork Valley Restaurant and The Rose. Planters are planned. "We want to start to make it look like a park instead of a weed patch," Wills said.
The Downtown Improvement Committee is starting to meet again and plan how to get the planters built, do the maintenance work and the watering for this coming summer.
The Hotchkiss board of directors approved a $2,000 budget for the project in 2013. The chamber of commerce also committed $2,000.
Six mine timber planters measuring 3 feet by 6 feet will be placed on side streets in 2013. "CDOT wouldn't allow us to put them in the no parking areas on Bridge Street because they are too hefty, and their easement is from curb to curb. But on side streets it will help with slowing [motorists] down, not cutting corners and just make it look a lot nicer," Wills told the council.
Bench planters will be placed on adjacent corners by the bank and post office.
"This is not just beautification. It has a lot to do with economic development, community building," Wills said. "Any time we did a few planters this year it seemed to kick other people into gear to do other things. It's just kind of snowballing. It's really cool to see how something as simple as planting flowers starts a positive attitude going around town."
Mayor Wendell Koontz asked Wills and Hockenbery to keep in touch with the town's public works department and marshal's office on the placement of the planters on streets. "There is still some concern with that," Koontz said.
Regarding the town's proposed sidewalk ordinance, the mayor hopes for a public hearing at Hotchkiss High School in February or March.
Wills stated that the proposed ordinance would allow people to finance sidewalks over two years. A monthly interest fee would be limited to no more than 10 percent.blog comments powered by Disqus