Archive for Thursday, April 8, 2004

Baldwin sets meeting for downtown plan feedback

Response sought from business, property owners about revitalization

April 8, 2004

Baldwin is taking the next step toward sprucing up the downtown area.

A downtown revitalization informational meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, at the Baldwin City Public Library. The meeting is open to the public, but City Administrator Jeff Dingman encouraged downtown business and property owners to attend.

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"We need to make contact with property and business owners because we haven't had a formal chance to meet with them yet," he said. "They haven't, as a group, had a chance to ask questions or have input yet."

Dingman hopes to get feedback from the owners on the city's idea to redevelop downtown, a plan which includes burying utility lines and rebuilding the sidewalks with brick inlay and spaces for trees and 1930s era street lights.

"Ultimately, this is to gauge interest," he said. "I don't have a good feel for it yet. The thing I hope to gain from this meeting is what business and property owners are thinking."

Dingman said the project's estimated $460,000 cost -- and maybe more importantly, how the cost will be divided between the city and property owners -- will also be discussed.

"We want to talk with owners what the implications might be in regards to paying for the project and living through the construction," he said. "Right now, everything is based on assumptions."

The original project was designed to take five years to complete, and require property owners to be responsible for two-thirds of the cost with the city paying the remaining third.

But Dingman said he was looking at the idea of setting up a special assessment district so the project could be completed all at once.

"You have the assurance that everything would get done and be uniform," he said.

But the city, he said, would welcome other ideas or suggestions.

"It's one idea, and it hasn't really had a chance to be altered," he said. "If they see other things they'd like to incorporate, that's what the meeting is for."

Dingman said the ultimate goal for the meeting is just to get the information to the Baldwin public and give people a chance to voice their opinions and ask questions.

"We just want to give the best effort to inform these folks what the idea is," he said.

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