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City seeks input on downtown

Local residents are being asked to share their thoughts — about the future of downtown Ashland.

The City of Ashland is launching a series of meetings — on issues that affect the downtown, including parking, truck loading, — pedestrian improvements, aesthetic upgrades and Lithia Way development.

"It should be of interest to all of us," said Mayor John — Morrison. "The downtown in an integral part of the community."

The first meeting begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Historic — Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.

It will include a brief history of downtown and previous — planning efforts, followed by opportunities for residents to give input, — according to city staff.

Updating the existing downtown plan is a goal of the Ashland — City Council. That plan was adopted in 1988 and followed by preparation — of a 2001 document that outlined numerous projects, city staff said.

The series of meetings this year will lead to a plan update — that will guide future downtown improvements and development, according — to city staff.

The council hopes to adopt the updated plan by January — 2006.

Morrison said the update of the downtown plan is part — of a larger effort to envision the future of the city.

"This is just the beginning of developing a vision for — the entire community," he said. "One thing that became clear to me as — I was campaigning (for mayor in November) was that developing a renewed — vision of Ashland is at the top of many people's minds."

Downtown plan timeline

o 7 p.m., Wednesday, Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak — St. - Presentation of the history of downtown Ashland and previous planning — efforts. Solicit input regarding the vision and future of the downtown, — including specific issues to be addressed at future meetings.

o 7 p.m., Feb. 23, Community Development Building, 51 — Winburn Way - Parking and truck loading.

o 7 p.m., March 9, Community Development Building - Update — on parking and loading. Streetscape and pedestrian amenity issues downtown, — including sidewalk improvements, awning enhancement, fa?ade improvements, — furniture, lighting, etc.

o 7 p.m., April 20, Community Development Building - Final — discussions on parking issues, traffic circulation, transit, bicycles, — pedestrians.

o 7 p.m., May 25, Community Development Building - Downtown — appearance, pedestrian amenities, downtown organization and promotion. —

o 7 p.m., June 22, Community Development Building - Lithia — Way design issues.

o 7 p.m., July 14, Community Development Building - Update — on status of all issues to date.

o 7 p.m., Sept. 27, Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, — 1175 E. Main St. - Presentation of Draft Final Downtown Plan Update.

o 7 p.m., Oct. 11 or Nov. 8, Ashland Civic Center Council — Chambers - Public Hearing in front of the Planning Commission.

o 7 p.m., Nov. 15 or Dec. 6, Ashland Civic Center Council — Chambers - Public hearing in front of the City Council to adopt plan. —

o 7 p.m., Jan. 3, 2006, Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers — - Ordinance adopting Downtown Plan as part of the Comprehensive Plan

o 7 p.m., Jan. 17, 2006, Ashland Civic Center Council — Chambers - Final official adoption of ordinance.