[11/3/21] HDCA Downtown Presentation

Posted in Business & Economy

The Historic Downtown Chelan Association held its public presentation of its Downtown Revitalization Plan Monday in Campbell’s Centennial Room. About 50 people turned out to hear the HDCA’s plans to put together a road map for downtown improvements over the next 20 years. HDCA Executive Director Erin McArdle said the city had turned the reins of the project over to the HDCA back in 2018, and since then they’ve gone through the initial phase of the project, and obtained funding for improvements to Woodin Avenue and North Emerson Street.

For the future, the revitalization project has four key elements: improving and connecting the pathways to downtown; creating a true center of downtown; improvements to infrastructure; and improvements to alleys. The projects would include putting in new street crossings for pedestrians and having a continuous pathway leading users from the parking lots to downtown and Riverwalk Park; and additional lighting and landscaping. The plan would create a center of downtown at the intersection of Woodin and Emerson, to connect the two blocks of Woodin Avenue with enhanced paving and better use of public space at the existing bulb outs.

Possibly the most controversial proposal deals with the proposed expansion of sidewalks, adding as much as three feet to each sidewalk. The city’s current sidewalks have less than three feet for pedestrian space, and much of that is encroached upon by signage, trees and business service space like outside dining. The HDCA is choosing the minimum recommendations of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, which would extend the sidewalks to give five feet for pedestrian space.

HDCA officials said that nothing would be happening now, or in the near future, and comments on the revitalization plan, which would be ongoing over the next 20 years, are welcome. A link to the overview of the plan is available at the HDCA website, historicchelan.org; click on about, then on projects.