Last week, the City of Northfield announced on its website and via an emailed press release (PDF) that the public process for creating a master planning update for Bridge Square begins this Wednesday with an open house at the Archer House, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
There’s now a Bridge Square Blog Site. Yes, you can see my fingerprints on it, as I’ve been hired as a contractor (with my Wigley and Associates hat) by the City to handle the online engagement for the project, teaming up with the lead consultant, Stantec Consulting’s John Slack.
Here on LoGro, the headlines for all the recent Bridge Square project blog posts will appear in the upper right sidebar. But like I did when I posted updates on the recently completed Downtown Parking Management Plan, comments are turned off here because the discussion happens there.
I will attach a comment to this blog post whenever there’s a significant update to the project, just as a way of drawing additional attention to it. There are better ways to stay informed, however. See my post titled Tools for keeping updated on the Bridge Square planning process.
I missed the imprinting of the sidewalk poems yesterday morning so see the short Nfld News video here and the story with more photos at Nfld Patch: Northfield Sidewalk Poetry Installation
The first two pieces of sidewalk poetry were imprinted in the sidewalks (one on Third Street and another on Division Street) around the Northfield Public Library on Wednesday morning.
They included a piece from Lily Hanlon, a Prairie Creek Community School student, and Anne Running Sovik. These are selections from the first sidewalk public poetry contest from last year, which was sponsored by the Arts & Culture Commission and the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library. More poems from the 2011 selections will be imprinted at a later date.
I chatted with Library Director Lynne Young as I was taking photos and asked her about the funding for the project. She said that the Northfield Streetscape Task Force contributed $5,000 last year and that the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) awarded a grant this year. I see on the SEMAC page of recent grants that the
City of Northfield Arts & Culture Commission received a $7,100 Arts & Cultural Heritage grant for Sidewalk Public Poetry Project.
"Arts & Cultural Heritage grant" is Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment money. Not counted in the total is City of Northfield staff time (public works, engineering).
I love public art and I think sidewalk poetry is cool. But I think it’s worth discussing whether $12,000 of taxpayer money for this project is a good investment. I’m undecided.
Update May 22: Some additional photos:
Left: I don’t understand why only one poem was installed in this new section.
Right: This section of sidewalk appear to be relatively new. Why weren’t poems installed here?
Last Friday, I got this email and photo from Steve Wilmot:
We may have some confused tourists today as all the street signs for Division Street appear to be in the back of this City truck.
Thought you would find this interesting.
I took these photos over the weekend, assuming that the signage replacement was part of the Streetscape Task Force‘s downtown beautification efforts. The brackets used to hold up the signs appears to be consistent with the the other iron work used for the wayfinding signs, for example.
But maybe not. In the March 2 Admin Memo, TJ Heinricy, Streets and Parks Supervisor reports:
Staff has been preparing street identification signage that will be installed soon. These signs are part of the ongoing street signage replacement project.
The government’s listing for the Northfield Post Office building reads:
14 Bridge Square, Northfield, Minnesota represents a unique opportunity to purchase a unique and beautiful former US Postal Service facility. The building is a 9,708 SF and is located on 0.53 acres. This architecturally distinct building was built in 1936 and sits prominently in the historic center of Northfield. The property includes 15 surface stalls in the off-street parking lot.
The realtor is Chris Gliedman, CBRE, based in Mpls.
The Northfield Roundtable held two planning sessions last week, focused on Bridge Square. The notes from that day are not yet available but see the Feb. 4 Nfld News: Northfield Roundtable focuses on Bridge Square. According to the article, these were some ideas generated at Friday’s session that were Post Office-related:
The downtown post office could be turned into a Northfield Business Center, serving as an incubator and housing the Chamber, NDDC and NEC, along with small shops.
By tying Bridge Square with the service areas and alleys surrounding the post office building and the buildings facing Division Street, all properties on the block could be on the river.
Should the Downtown Streetscape Taskforce buy it, since a year ago, the City Council rejected its recommendation to purchase the rental property at 304 Washington St. for a parking lot at a cost of $760,000?
Back in June, 2011, I blogged about St. Olaf’s new bike repair stations and that we needed something like them in downtown Northfield. In mid-August, I commented: "Ross Currier told me this week that the Downtown Streetscape Task Force is considering installing one of these bicycle repair stations."
Yesterday, two bike repair stands were installed, one at 5th and Division under the stairs of the McClaughry Building, the other at the Division St. entrance to the Northfield Library. Each bike repair stand (Dero Fixit) includes an air pump with a gauge, and seven tools, all tethered with security cables. You can hang your bike on the stand by its seat post so you can more easily work on it.
Props to Ross Currier and members of the Downtown Streetscape Task Force for shifting some money to do this, to TJ Heinricy and his crew at the City of Northfield Streets, Parks & Facilities Divisions for getting them installed before spring, and to Jim Fisher, Grounds Manager at St. Olaf, for bringing this concept to Northfield.