Wednesday evening, the public is invited to a return meeting to help shape what downtown Rhinelander will look like the next half-century.
City officials are planning an upgrade of the underground utilities in 2016 with a primary focus on Davenport, Brown and Stevens Streets. About the same time, Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. is helping to coordinate a re-do of the above ground portion called the "streetscape".
Several options have been explored since a public input meeting last April. Maggie Steffen from Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. says while many options for Brown Street have been discussed after a survey was given to property and business owners in the downtown. She says not everyone was happy with the results, but the meeting produced a concensus...
"....are looking at and having the sidewalks expanded. There are options to expand them five feet or ten feet. Going with the five-foot expansion gives us room to do things on the sidewalk we can't do now, but it still gives us opportunity to do different traffic flow patterns...."
Steffen says if it doesn't work out, there are options later to change the sidewalk.
Regarding parking, the options were one way traffic with angle parking or two way traffic with parallel parking. The group decided on an option...
"....the engineers(decided to) go with two-way traffic with angle parking on the east side of Brown Street. On the other side of the street, or the west side, would be parallel parking because they have parking lots behind them...."
She says that plan allows for expanded sidewalks. She says long-term trends find downtowns are becoming entertainment districts, a place where people gather. She says the sidewalks are key to that type of area.
Steffen says the public will have input at the meeting this Wednesday(7/23) at 5:30 p.m. at the Hext Theater downtown. There is a website with more information at rhinelanderstreetscape.com