By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD —The city’s plans to redevelop Second Street have been the subject of lively discussion both at city hall, in the community, and on social media. One man — Marshfield resident Carl Scott — took to the streets yesterday, the intersection of Second Street and Central Avenue to be exact, to protest the latest proposal which would create one-way streets heading east from Central Avenue to Maple Avenue and west from Central to Chestnut Avenue as well as angled parking on those blocks.
The idea behind the Second Street corridor is to provide a pedestrian friendly area to bring more foot traffic to downtown Marshfield. The city’s hope would eventually be to extend the corridor from Maple Avenue all the way to Spruce Avenue, in effect connecting the anchor points of the corridor in Steve J. Miller Recreation Area and the new Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library, which will likely begin construction in late July or early August.
The Second Street corridor was cited as an area of opportunity in the Downtown Master Plan, which the Marshfield Common Council unanimously approved in March of this year. The goals set forth in that plan were as follows:
—Create an attractive downtown through investments in streetscaping, art installations, parks and green spaces, and quality private redevelopment projects.
—Support the growth and retention of existing downtown businesses while attracting new ones.
—Promote the downtown as the city’s pre-eminent shopping, dining, and entertainment destination by featuring a mix of specialty retail businesses, eating and drinking places, arts and cultural offerings, recreational opportunities, and events.
—Encourage redevelopment, infill development, and renovation or restoration of historic properties, resulting in high quality commercial or residential space, increased value, and an attractive appearance.
—Establish the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods as a preferred location for housing, offering high quality rental and owner occupied units in new and historic buildings. This could include opportunities for condominium and townhouse development.
—Continue to make the downtown more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
—Provide a centrally located, visible, and functional gathering space where residents and visitors can gather informally or during downtown events.
—Coordinate the activities of multiple organizations with overlapping roles and responsibilities for downtown revitalization.
One of the strategies for accomplishing these goals was to look at redeveloping Second Street. The following quote comes directly from the Downtown Master Plan:
Second Street connects the expanded library, core downtown, proposed park, and Steve J. Miller Park. This street can be redeveloped with significant landscaping, art installations, traffic calming, and other bicycle and pedestrian improvements to tie these resources together. The green corridor can be an incentive to promote eventual redevelopment of public and private properties along West Second Street.
Exactly how to redevelop Second Street has now become a contentious issue. The city has put forth multiple proposals to redevelop Second Street, its most recent would look at implementing one-way streets and angled parking, which would allow business owners to maintain or add parking around their businesses and increase the space the city has to make the corridor more pedestrian friendly.
That too has received opposition, and Scott took to the street yesterday holding a sign that read, “Stop 2nd Street Corridor! No one way!”
“No. 1, I’m against one-way streets. We have one-way alleys, which people are driving up the wrong way as it is. No. 2, I don’t believe we should be spending money on gingerbread to our streets when our other streets in town here are breaking up,” Scott said. “Thirdly, I think you have to have convenient parking as it is right now for these downtown businesses or they will lose customers, and then we’ll lose businesses.”
The Marshfield Common Council will have the chance to decide on whether or not to approve the concept of angled parking and one-way streets along the Second Street corridor at its next meeting. That meeting will be held in the council chambers, lower level of City Hall, on Tuesday, June 23, at 7 p.m.