(KMTR) -- Putting Downtown Springfield under a makeover spotlight, local architects, landscapers, design professionals, developers and businesses owners are working on a plan to reinvent the city’s downtown core without waiting on anyone else.
Lead by a local organization of “emerging professionals” called “Design Spring” and the Southwestern Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects, more than 30 people joined forced Saturday, November 12th, 2011, to draw out new plans for downtown Springfield. The group is focusing on Main Street between Pioneer Parkway East and Eighth Street.
Armed with pens, colored pencils and tracing paper, the group spent Saturday drawing ideas to redesign sidewalks green space along the street. Some of the ideas include adding pocket parks along the downtown Main Street corridor, planting new trees, adding benches, bumping out sidewalks at intersections, adding twinkle lights to the trees, even coloring cement at walk ways to differentiate them in the streets.
While design changes are key to the group’s work, the group is also encouraging business owners to take on certain steps to makeover their current locations with things like power washing, painting and clearing out window space to make business inside more visible.
“There's a lot of buildings down here that just need a little cosmetic paint, or some better signage, and so we're looking at those ideas and some way to create this perspective on the streets that brings community and makes them want to be in downtown Springfield,” says Jenni Rogers, a group organizer for Design Spring.
All of the ideas gathered with be put into a report and given to Springfield’s Main Street Program in a few months. It says many of the ideas can be done through the city’s permitting process, without local, state or federal government approval necessary.
A participant in Saturday’s charrette, Peter Herley says its encouraging to see the work. Herley has helped improve storefronts throughout downtown Eugene and Springfield as part of the Eugene Storefront Art Project. The group places art in vacant spaces.
“It's reinventing the mojo, putting the fire under people and saying he looked there could be gratitude instead of blight,” says Herley.