Advertising banners again proliferating in Ames Park. Streetscape Task Force, whaddup?

Advertising banners in Ames Park
There are now four signs/advertising banners in Ames Park at the corner of 5th St and Hwy 3. Even the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store has gotten into it. Heh.

I blogged about this back in May, 2009:  Advertising banners in Ames Park: what are the guidelines? In the comments attached to that post, one citizen reported that they’d asked City Hall about it:

The answer was that there was no charge for the space and the rules were pretty informal — an honor system of sorts. You just needed to let them know when you would put the sign up and how long you needed the space. It was understood that you’d secure it safely and take the sign down right after the event. It was also understood that the space was for community events like the hospital book fair and not private business advertising.

Looks like one business is advertising, not that I’m objecting.

Mayor Mary Rossing commented:

The Mayor’s Streetscape Taskforce will be meeting again, with new and returning members in the mix, mid June. This is one of their charges. A permanent kiosk has been talked about as we continue to work to add amenities to the downtown and gateway areas. They will be looking at many potential projects and prioritizing and making recommendations to the council. All projects need to be in place (or in progress) by the end of 2013 as this is the end of the master development funds.

So if this was one of the charges for the Streetscape Taskforce two years ago, can someone update us on what was decided, if anything?

6 thoughts on “Advertising banners again proliferating in Ames Park. Streetscape Task Force, whaddup?”

  1. Griff,

    So far nothing has been decided on when needs to be done in Ames Park. At the last meeting Steve Edwins walked us through all of the gateways into Northfield and we talked about Ames Park. But nothing was firmly discussed

    However, until the taksforce and the Council can come to some agreement on if they want a parking lot by the Library, I am not sure what will come from it.

    Maybe Dan or Ross can weigh in on this as well.

  2. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be commenting on here: signs in the park or plans for the park?

    I guess I’ve noticed that some community groups post signs promoting their events in the park. They go up and down pretty quickly. It seems a little more “small town appropriate” than those moving lights signs for public service announcements that they have in some other towns. However, I can see that if there are several signs at the same time, it can get a little cluttered looking.

    As for plans for Ames Park, didn’t the Park and Recreation Advisory Board recommend something about a Skatepark for Ames Park? I know there wasn’t much support for that idea from the City Council. Maybe when that proposal was shelved, there was no alternative proposal in place. I’m guessing that such an alternative would probably come from the Parks Board rather than the Streetscape Force.

    As I’ve said before, I’ve just been a sub at a couple of Task Force meetings in the past few months. The Council indicated their desire to see some projects at the community’s “gateways” and, it seemed to me, the Task Force was quite receptive to that idea.

    As I also said in a recent comment, Steve Edwins did a great service (in my opinion) to the community by capturing existing conditions at the gateways in photos. Although his work identified the gateways to Northfield, north, south, east and west, he did note that Ames Park was a key property for our community’s image.

    There was some discussion about the using some of the elements from previous “landscaping projects”, such as in front of the liquor store and the entrance to the parking lot at 3rd Street and Highway 3, in projects at the gateways. So, I’m guessing that some of these elements might be used to “spruce up” Ames Park if that becomes a priority project of either the Park Board or the Streetscape Force.

    I think that City staff indicated that the Safety Center and street reconstruction projects are the priority projects this year. Therefore, 2011 would be a planning year for the gateways for construction in 2012.

    Dan has been involved longer and more intimately than I and I would nod to his superior knowledge on this topic.

  3. Ross, while City staff might indeed be preoccupied with the Safety Center and street reconstruction projects right now, there’s a $1 million of Task Force money at stake with a deadline looming.

    Yes, this Ames Park sign issue, the newspaper vending racks, the recycling bins, the Archer House bathroom signs, etc etc are small potato issues. But combined with the poor attendance, and lack of documentation (minutes, agendas, membership), it appears to me that the Task Force is in disarray and indicates to me that the City Council needs to intervene. After all, it was originally the MAYOR’s Streetscape Task Force.

  4. Griff, I would not say disarray. I think the City staff does not think highly of the Streetscape Taskforce or the projects.

    Many months ago the Taskforce presented the Council with the projects we wanted to complete. The Council took those goals and added some. They also said, we want to discuss the parking lot project next to the Library. Since then we have not received any direction on what we need to do. So in a sense, yes the Council needs to intervene and give us direction and direct staff to start these projects.!

  5. griff: in looking for a place to comment on streetscape issues, this appears to be a rather recent thread , but move it or create a new one at your pleasure…

    Last night the Council was asked if they favored moving ahead with exploring further the location of a surface parking lot on the site of the apartment building at 304 Washington. This site is between two parking lots now, and would possibly facilitate parking also for the Library… if and when that ever happens… as well as supplementing Division street now.

    The owners are asking $760, 000. The taxes on the property are approximately $6,500, and the number of parking spaces it would yield seems to some degree to depend on whether you are for or against the project.

    Ten or more years ago, David Koenig, when he was a Councilor, advocated purchasing the property as it would be needed someday by the city for multiple possible uses. there was no interest by a majority of the Council at the time.

    Questions were raised last night by Councilor Pownell, quoting costs of a 2-tiered parking lot on the ‘jacobsen lot’ where there is now a one level, half block lot. She quoted prices from the ten year old (approximately) Walker parking Study done by the city, citing $360,000 for a 200 space lot.
    Obviously there are simple Math questions here, regardless of policy decisions.

    It is disconcerting when many valuable minutes of Council time are wasted by discussion which once again, has no BASIC numbers/facts upon which to base their discussion.

    Once again the meeting time had to be extended past 10 pm, with one councilor feeling that was not appropriate as there had been (in their opinion) “inadequate time management”.
    I realize that is a second issue, but it arises from the first of needing a solid set of basic facts to be provided, IF the Council is to efficiently use their time.

  6. Correction: the asking price for the property is approximately $500,000. Constructing the lot would be about $260,000; so the total cost of providing parking at that location is $760,000.

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