The proposed expansion, which would encourage redevelopment along the street, would encompass six city blocks on Sanford Avenue, taking the CRA’s downtown boundaries south to 6th Street.
One hurdle is that the expansion must be approved by county commissioners.
Historic Preservation Officer Christine Dalton said the expansion would make a great impact on the avenue, creating an improved streetscape and driving business in that direction.
Part of the expansion would include adding trees, signage, curbing and streetlights, which would require bumping out curbs.
“Installation of streetlights and trees will create a safer pedestrian-friendly environment,” said Dalton.
Although the curb reconfiguration would require losing a few parking spaces, the new streetscape will better connect Sanford Avenue with 1st Street, as the CRA hopes to install the same fixtures on Sanford Avenue as were installed on 1st Street.
“One of the things about Sanford Avenue is if you go down Sanford Avenue in the evening it’s not very well lit and it doesn’t feel safe, especially if you’re on foot,” said Dalton.
In addition to promoting redevelopment on Sanford Avenue, the new boundaries would coincide with the Georgetown Neighborhood Plan and city’s cultural corridor, as the areas overlap. With these plans in place, the CRA believes traffic and business will start to move in that direction.
“It’s a major artery into downtown,” said CRA chairman Bob Parsell. “It doesn’t look that bad until you get down [going north] around 7th and 8th Street.”
In a presentation made to the CRA on Wednesday, Dalton explained the new boundaries and the impact that the expansion would make. She plans to give the same presentation to county commissioners in the upcoming months.
Although the plan would widen the beautification effort of downtown, CRA board members hope county commissioners approve it. While most of the funding will come from the CRA, the county would need to invest some money to support the project.
“We need to make the commissioners understand the money to do this will come from existing CRA funds because we’ve been successful in increasing property values,” said Parsell.
Parsell also cited that the CRA raised more than $1.5 million in the past five years. He said they have been swift in making improvements, changing 1st Street and the Northshore beautification projects in only a short period of time.
Dalton plans to make her presentation to the commissioners in early 2009. In addition to her presentation, she will also distribute packets with before and after pictures of the buildings on Sanford Avenue that have already been redeveloped, such as the Stokes Market building.
Also, Dalton plans to get letters of support from property owners on the avenue, along with Sanford citizens. If the expansion is approved, the plan will go to the city commission in the form of an ordinance. If all goes correctly, the expansion could be in place by mid-2009.