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Streetscaping Ideas for Downtown Lamar

Streetscape Concepts Discussed

Streetscape Concepts Discussed

A change is coming to the way downtown Lamar looks. The first phase will begin later this summer with the CDOT resurfacing project.  These initial upgrades call for the elimination of the center median along Main Street and the repositioning of the light poles along the sidewalks.  The three phase project is expected to last from two to three years and will be completed in stages as funding allows.

Before and After Pix of Main and Beech Streets

Before and After Pix of Main and Beech Streets

Even before the project was announced, the City of Lamar had been giving thought to improving the appearance of the downtown area. The intent has been to develop a central theme which capitalizes on the historic aspects of the main shopping district.  At the same time, safety is one of the main concerns for the CDOT street improvements.  Various department heads and representatives of the downtown retail sector have been developing ideas that showcases Main Street businesses and creates a more inviting appearance which would cause local residents or a visitor to linger.

Angie Cue, the City of Lamar’s Downtown Development Director, hosted a meeting at the Lamar Community Building Thursday, May 5th to present a broad overview of ideas developed by architects Jim Leggitt and Art Malito from studioINSIGHT in Denver.  They translated concepts derived from the idea session into some rough sketches for the downtown area, coupled with a ‘before’ snapshot and an ‘after’ drawing.

Picture and Artist Design

Picture and Artist Design

Leggitt told the group, “We spent Wednesday looking at big picture concepts, getting our arms around the entire downtown area and highlighted opportunities for improvements.” He said the focus on Thursday was on details and applied concepts to the main street corridor and potential streetscape improvements.  He said there were several areas in common for streets, sidewalks, amenities, planters, benches, etc.  “We want to provide more informative signage leading to your Main Street to let motorists know about free parking, the Welcome Center and the Chamber offices right downtown,” he explained.  Some store owners gave mixed review for Main Street trees.  “Some wanted them gone because they hide their business signage and falling leaves are a constant chore, while others wanted them for their attractive display and their shade,” he stated.

Legitt said he’ll work with the pocket park designers so the two projects can complement each other in form and function. CDOT has proposed bulb-outs or extended rounded edges to the sidewalks at intersections so they’ll shorten the walking distance between sidewalks and act as a buffer from traffic to parked cars on Main Street.  Other recommendations included closing off the eastern exit from the Welcome Center back onto the main road which allows the Madonna of the Trail statue to be showcased instead of surrounded by cars and an easier walk-way for pedestrians; placement of more historical monuments or displays downtown and on county property; set up portable platforms to create temporary boardwalks for a seasonal showcase; work to enhance alleyways to promote pedestrian traffic off main street; set up some random surprises for pedestrians with murals, statues placed on park benches, crocheted covers for tree trunks…devices that heighten awareness of the downtown area and cause shoppers to linger and investigate the displays.

Liggett said his report and suggestions were only preliminary and open for discussion among stakeholders in the community. He said he will be supplying more ideas and concepts in the months to follow.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedTourismTransportation


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