On Monday, Hermiston City Council approved designs for a downtown festival street.
The first phase of the project will transform the portion of Northeast Second Street between Main Street and Gladys Avenue from “building to building,” according to GreenWorks PC principal architect Mike Faha.
“It will be quite a different look and feel,” he told the council, likening the finished product to “a big plaza.”
Later phases will extend the project past Gladys Avenue to the Harkenrider Center (which breaks ground Wednesday) and add a plaza and fountain to the parking lot across the street from city hall.
The most expensive part of the first phase, which is expected to cost $991,000, will be raising the street to the level of the sidewalk to create a more inviting pedestrian experience. Instead of curbs, street trees and short posts called bollards will keep cars from coming up onto the sidewalk while still allowing pedestrians to easily move between them when the street is blocked off for events.
Decorative concrete pavers, ornamental lighting, metal benches, short stone walls and other touches will create a “sense of place,” Faha said.
Phase 1 will remove five parking spots from the street, but phase 2 will restore them by restriping the parking lot across from city hall.
Adding a plaza will cost about $277,000, adding a 25-foot-wide fountain and water play area will cost an estimated $479,000 and extending the project to the Harkenrider Center will cost about $571,000.
Money for the first phase comes from a bond that will be paid for using revenue from Hermiston’s urban renewal district. City planner Clint Spencer said the citizens’ group that helped develop the festival street design has expressed an interest in spearheading a private fundraising campaign to help raise money for the later phases.
Mayor David Drotzmann said the city has recently had some “significant conversations” about the future of the old Carnegie Library on the corner of Gladys Avenue and Northeast Second Street, and noted that extending the festival street across Gladys as soon as possible would help make the library more attractive.
The first phase is expected to be complete in spring 2018.
“I’m excited to see what that looks like,” Drotzmann said.
Contact Jade McDowell at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.