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DADi is hoping to tackle some new community-based projects with Deuel School students this 2009 – 2010 school year. This time, we have our eyes on the DHS shop class to create benches for Main Street Clear Lake. It would be a great way to continue implementing recommendations made by Design:SD! Many ideas have been floating around, and here’s one we are kind of excited about! What do you think about swinging benches? It’s just an idea at this point, we could possibly put them along Main Street. Each one could be a different design or a different bright, fun color!
We think it would be beautiful, but what do you think?? Please respond via the poll below.
What does quality of life mean to you? And how might Main Street enhance your quality of life? What would Main Street need to look like in order to give you great pride in your community and the desire to show it off to visitors and friends? These are all things our community discussed in preparation for design:SD and were at the forefront when the design team was here back in March.
This is our second post in the design:SD ‘Spotlight’ Series, and today we will look at Main Street Concepts presented by the design team. Each one of their suggestions was based on the fact that design and architecture can influence quality of life in Deuel County. Quality of life is arguably the most important aspect of Deuel Area Development’s (DADi’s) work because it is a crucial element in retaining current residents, attracting new residents, and sustaining our community for years into the future.
The design team made many recommendations for our Deuel County main streets, and all of the recommendations embodied the 10 Principles of Livable Communities established by the American Institute of Architects. By utilizing these principles, the team suggested ways that we can take our communities to the next level. Although some of the ideas are specific to Clear Lake and Gary, the concepts are universal and can be applied to any community.
Gary Main Street Opportunities
In addition to the public attraction and historic presence of the former School for the Blind, the team suggested that Gary utilize existing historic buildings as corner attractions with mixed-uses – such as loft apartments on the second floor with business offices below. This creates variety and contributes to a vibrant and diverse community. Along Main Street they also suggested improved signage, street trees, landscaping, and outdoor seating in available open lots. The team encouraged the continued development of Gary as a compact, pedestrian-friendly community so that residents can walk to shops, services, jobs, and other resources.
Clear Lake Main Street Opportunities
Along the east side of Main Street, the team suggested outdoor public seating (some of which, by the way, has already happened with the new gazebo on Main Street!), and a line of street trees. Along the west side of the street, they identified areas that could be utilized as public spaces and park areas. Signage, awnings, mixed-use development (downtown residential housing business offices), and public venues were other recommendations.
Clear Lake Concepts
The next design board demonstrates concepts for four particular areas along Clear Lake’s Main Street. Two concepts highlight building restoration and window replacement. Although more expensive, building restoration is extremely important in order for us to retain the historic presence and unique character of Main Street and to increase vibrancy of the downtown area. Improved signage was also stressed as important.
The final two concepts presented on this board highlight Main Street landscape. Plantscapes can give life and vibrancy to an area and make Main Street more pedestrian friendly. Our landscape design should be done on a pedestrian scale with lower light poles, short fences, and green buffers.
In the final Main Street aspect, the design team looked specifically at how to use landscape to create a safe and livable downtown area. Here they addressed traffic and pedestrian safety by designing bump-out areas landscaped with trees in order to slow traffic (which is particularly relevant for Highway 15 in Clear Lake). They also suggested a common theme of benches and street lights to be used at bump-out locations as well as a series of trees and planters. Trees, paving patterns, and seating areas along Main Street will all contribute to the sense of place and well-being in our community.
These Main Street opportunities and concepts introduced by the design team range from large to small. Little by little as these important projects are tackled, they will help build a stronger downtown neighborhood, and make Main Street an attractive place for businesses and people.