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Jacksonville considers gateway project

JACKSONVILLE ' The city wants to spruce up one of its entryways.

The City Council on Tuesday looked at a proposal for the North Fifth Street gateway project that would incorporate sidewalks, bike lanes, setbacks and big leaf maple trees. The area stretches for about a half-mile along Fifth Street from G Street to the city limits (near the Texaco station).

It was regarded as an area that needed additional assistance, City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen told the council.

It (the plan) deals with traffic issues, design issues and safety issues all in one, he said.

The idea began in 1995. Jacksonville has been working on the design in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments and Rogue Valley Transportation District.

If adopted, the design will go into the city's comprehensive plan. Funding, as yet undetermined, may come from grants, the urban renewal agency and/or ODOT, said City Council member Jerry Mathern.

The gateway project includes street designs, standards for new developments and realigning the Schaefer Lane intersection.

ODOT had no objections to the plans as proposed, said Wyntergreen.

Part of the plan includes widening the road four feet in order to have bike paths.

Council member Dean Paddison said he wants the city to talk first with affected property owners about giving up some of their property to widen the road.

I don't like the idea of taking people's property, he said. I wouldn't like it to happen to me.

The council will continue its discussion of the plan at its Sept. 17 meeting.

A copy of the proposed gateway project is available for the public to view at the Jacksonville city offices and branch library.

After the council meeting, members met again ' this time as the Urban Renewal Agency.

The agency looked at proposed boundaries for the urban renewal district, which would encompass 14 percent of the city. The district was formed after voters in May approved creation of an urban renewal agency, which is estimated to generate &

36;3.7 million for rehabilitation and preservation of downtown.

Mathern, the district president, said that the agency has until the end of the year to hold workshops and public hearings and adopt the boundaries.

The proposed urban renewal district plans are also available for the public to see at the city offices. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Oct. 9.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail .