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Bartlett St. might link Commons, downtown

Bartlett Street has been a dead-end long enough, so the city wants to punch a hole through a parking lot that will connect The Commons area with downtown Medford.

On Thursday, the Medford Urban Renewal Agency board will consider a resolution that will provide $200,000 to open up the Middleford Parking Structure to reconnect Bartlett, at least for foot traffic.

The MURA board will meet at noon in the City Hall council chambers, 411 W. Eighth St.

Currently, Bartlett doesn't connect directly from Sixth Street to Main Street. With The Commons under construction, city officials want to make the area more pedestrian friendly by connecting the downtown core with the new development. Two park blocks also will be built to the north of Sixth Street along with Lithia's headquarters.

Lithia also is the general contractor on the $32million job, so city officials will be giving the company the money to remodel the parking garage. The city and Lithia signed a contract in February 2010 that spells out the scope of The Commons project.

Lithia is building a four-story, 69,000-square-foot building for about $18 million.

The city is contributing $14 million on the project, or more than 40 percent

Opening up the parking garage is one of the least expensive portions of a complicated project aimed at pumping more vitality into downtown.

Some of the city's big expenses include $3.4 million to buy land for the park blocks along Bartlett Street. Another $3.5 million will be spent to build the parks and roads.

The land for a parking area will cost $1 million, and the cost to build the parking lot will be $2.5 million.

Water lines that have been installed cost $2.5 million.

Lithia also will contribute $500,000 toward building Liberty Park, at the corner of Maple and North Bartlett streets on two city lots that are roughly the size of Vogel Plaza.

The Commons and Liberty Park are scheduled for completion in fall 2012.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email dmann@mailtribune.com.