Downtown streetscape meeting scheduled for today

Gilroy
– City staff and representatives of the Gilroy business
community will meet today at City Hall to hash out a schedule for
the much-anticipated facelift to Monterey Street.
Gilroy – City staff and representatives of the Gilroy business community will meet today at City Hall to hash out a schedule for the much-anticipated facelift to Monterey Street.

The final phase of the “streetscape” project will likely mean a street closure along Monterey, between Fourth and Sixth streets, for about nine months beginning in Feb. 2006, according to a preliminary city schedule. That strip of Monterey contains the highest density of the street’s remaining businesses.

The meeting, which takes place at 3:30pm at City Hall, will include the project engineers and representatives from the local chamber of commerce, Downtown Business Association, Economic Development Corporation, Visitor’s Bureau, and a task force charged with creating new development and zoning guidelines for the downtown area.

“It’s not a meeting per se,” said City Transportation Engineer Don Dey. “This is an informal talk with a few people to do some pre-project planning on what some of the issues might be.”

He said a public forum would be held for all business owners and residents by the end of March.

“Right now we don’t have anything to present to the businesses,” Dey said.

The final phase of the streetscape project was made possible by a $2.5 million grant, awarded in December by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

While the details are not yet fleshed out, the project will continue features already in place along Monterey between Sixth and Eighth streets, including wider sidewalks, tree plantings and decorative lamp-posts.

The current phase will also involve the removal of the winding median along Monterey and the creation of angled parking, expected to double the number of spots. The city hopes to extend certain upgrades, such as lamp posts and tree plantings, down a portion of the side streets.

“We’re still on the timeline,” Dey said. “We’re planning to have the preliminary design completed by the end of March. Final design we think could still meet the end-of-August deadline. Given all of that, we should be under construction by January of next year, to be completed by the end of October 2006.”

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