City seeks input on Oak St. improvements

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SANDPOINT — The city's Downtown Revitalization Project has several components, one of which includes improvements to Oak Street between Boyer and Fourth avenues. 

The proposed design for those improvements include a bike path, upgrades to the curb, gutter and sidewalk along the three blocks. A public workshop is scheduled for Tuesday as the city's Public Works Department is seeks public input on the proposed design.

The Downtown Revitalization Project was initiated by the city in December 2000 to engage the community in discussions about the future of its downtown. A plan for future improvements, including the Oak Street improvements, known as The Downtown Streets Plan and Design Guide, was published in 2012.

"That streets guide identifies a couple of key pedestrian and biking corridors getting into downtown, with Oak Street being one of those key corridors going down into the Farmin's Landing area with access to the beach," said Jennifer Stapleton, city administrator. "It's really getting at the question of, 'As my 10-year-old rides his bicycle into town, do we have a safe route going from one end of town to the other?'"

A public meeting was held in 2013 for the Oak Street improvements project and the city of Sandpoint was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Idaho Transportation Department for design and construction in 2015. A $100,000 match will be provided by the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency for the project.

Stapleton said the original proposals included a raised bicycle track along Oak Street. Conceptual designs will be proposed during Tuesday's workshop and will include some changes based early comments from surrounding businesses regarding loss of parking and increased construction costs resulting from a raised track.

Final design of the Oak Street improvements project will be guided by the public input received during the workshop. Public works staff plans to seek bids for construction this fall with construction to occur beginning in the spring of 2018.

The workshop is scheduled from 5:30–6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Sandpoint City Council Chambers., 1123 Lake St.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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