With citizen feedback split and business owners concerned, a hybrid of existing proposals is needed
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — As the reconstruction of Maple Avenue begins in earnest, another proposed street renovation project is receiving considerable attention in Marshfield. The city is looking to redevelop Second Street to make it more pedestrian friendly, specifically the portion that runs from Maple Avenue to Spruce Avenue. The Second Street renovation is part of the Downtown Master Plan, which the city previously approved as a framework of ideas to make the downtown area a more desirable location for residents to gather and recreate.
The city is seeking feedback from residents on three proposed designs for the so called “Second Street Corridor.” Open house meetings were held on Tuesday, April 28, and Thursday, April 30, where the design concepts were on display and city staff was present to answer resident questions. There is also an online survey residents can take to give feedback on the three designs, which can be found at the following link: surveymonkey.com/r/2ndStreetCorridor.
The first proposed concept focuses on maximizing parking along the corridor, adding more vegetative landscaping, and making the blocks directly adjacent to Central Avenue one-way streets.
The second concept would reduce parking in the corridor and add biking lanes and bike parking. There would also be a focus on adding vegetative landscaping and opportunities for outdoor dining.
The final concept calls for the most dramatic reduction in parking and would also increase opportunities for outdoor dining, public art, and again add trees and shrubs to the corridor.
Main Street Marshfield Executive Director Angie Eloranta said she initially felt like the design concepts were strong options, but as she and City Planner Josh Miller spoke to members of the business community, it became clear to her that there is more work to be done on developing a full vision for the corridor.
“When we initially started, I thought the idea was great, or the concept was great, trying to connect the library all the way down to Steve J. Miller Park,” Eloranta said. “But after talking to businesses, we became really aware of a lot of the issues that it would cause as far as parking and just traffic flow to and from these businesses.”
Eloranta said that it would be necessary to develop a hybrid of the existing concepts that works for businesses and appeals to pedestrians in the downtown area. She added that the online survey results have been split as to which concept of the three is preferred.
“It’s very unlikely that we would go with one of those concepts. I believe we’re going to kind of go back to the drawing board,” Eloranta said. She added that at least among business owners, the first concept, which would increase parking along the corridor, was popular.
Miller said that it was not unexpected that the initial concepts for Second Street would need alterations. The goal, Miller said, was to get some concepts out for the public to review and then adjust the plan based on community feedback.
“Our goal after this is to get all the comments both from the business owners, property owners, and survey and then try to put things together to see if we can come up with a reasonable consensus while still accommodating the business needs but yet still meeting our intent of this green corridor,” Miller said.
Scott Gebelein, the general manager of Main Street Photo and American Images in Marshfield, said that none of the current three concepts would be beneficial for his business and that in particular a one-way street could adversely impact access to his loading dock. Main Street Photo and American Images sit on the corner of Second Street and Central Avenue.
“We need access. We have a loading dock on the northeast side of the building, and if that road is made one-way, it’s going to make access to that loading dock very difficult,” Gebelein said. “At this point none of the three (plans) really work for what we do.”
Miller said that the city would take all of the input gathered and use that information to adapt the plan for Second Street. He added that he hoped construction on Second Street could begin in the summer of 2016.