Residents’ input sought for Fairgrounds

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 31, 2002

The city, set to begin $750,000 in improvements to a three-way intersection on East Washington Street by year’s end, is seeking planning help from a citizens’ committee.

City workers are slated to begin replacing the existing intersection of East Washington, Hall and Culloden streets with a traffic circle in mid-December, said Public Works Director Eric Nielsen. Plans call for the 2,800-square-foot plaza in the center of the traffic loop to be used as a public park area.

The project, scheduled to be complete in April, is the first phase of the Fairgrounds Revitalization Plan.

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During its meeting Wednesday, Jeryl Phillips, the city’s project coordinator, asked an 18-member committee to organize a design competition for the plaza.

&uot;This is a gateway, not just a median,&uot; said Bob Goumas, principal long-range planner for the city. &uot;It is an opportunity (for citizens) to come up with a meaningful symbol for the community.&uot;

For example, because of the East Washington’s community proximity to Planters Peanuts, people might consider erecting a statue of Mr. Peanut in the park, Phillips said.

Other features of the plan slated to be implemented over the next year include improvements to the intersection to the County/east Washington and Liberty street intersections and extensive streetscaping along East Washington Street.

This spring an electrical contractor will begin working to move the overhead cable, electric and telephone wiring along East Washington. That work is setting the stage for extensive streetscaping, including new curb and guttering, new sidewalks, street trees and the installation of historic lighting fixtures.