I am sure you have noticed, but it appears summer is mostly here at last. Ashland High School Graduation and the opening of the Elizabethan Theater both went well last week. There is lots of activity in town, and the City is moving into the things that keep us busy in the summer - such as construction projects and lots of activity in the parks.
Utility Boxes. The Public Arts Commission has begun work on a second round of painting electrical boxes. They recently received proposals to paint one transformer box on the plaza and two on Helman Street near DreamSacks's new location. The two on Helman are sponsored by DreamSacks. The Commission is appointing a selection panel, which includes a few artists, plaza merchants, and neighbors on Helman. The Public Arts Commission plans to make a recommendation to the City Council on July 20. Please let Ann know if you have any questions
Independence Day Preparation. I am sure you have all decided whether you will be walking in the parade. You should also plan to visit the bandshell after the parade to hear an official welcome from Mayor Stromberg and the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence. There are a couple of things you should know about on July 2. First, the City will host the official breakfast to welcome the dignitaries from Guanajuato that morning. All members of the City Council are invited, and you will receive more information from Diana Shiplet soon. Second, the Amigo Club will be dedicating a park bench to Senora Chela Kocks to recognize her role as the lynchpin in the sister city relationship. That bench will be in Lithia Park, and the ceremony will be at 4 p.m. Hope you can all make it.
The City is also working with the Chamber of Commerce to ask Ashland residents to plan to attend and support the official fireworks display at SOU on Independence Day. Both Ashland Fire and Rescue and the Chamber are educating folks about the new fireworks ban. We will be doing additional enforcement in the days leading up to the 4th this year (especially because the 4th is on Sunday).
We are also doing our standard work of preparing for the thousands of people who come for the parade and the festivities of the park. It's a big day in Ashland, and I'll keep you posted as things get closer.
There are two Public Works Projects you may want to know about. The Liberty Street LID will commence on June 22. The pre-construction meeting was held this week and the notice to proceed has been issued to the contractor (Visar Construction), letters have been sent to all property owners and the information has been posted on the City web. Morgan Wayman will be managing this project and will be on the site on a daily basis. He is prepared to handle all issues whether they be property owner concerns, utility problems or contractor issues.
Jefferson Street Project. Back in 2006, the Council worked with Brammo Motorsports on a grant/loan from the State to build the extension of Jefferson Street. While there were some hiccups along the way, the City has now received permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and will soon receive permits from Oregon Division of State Lands for the portion of the project that crosses the creek. Once those permits are on hand, the City will go out to bid for construction, and that project will begin later this summer (at last!)
Chamber Board Meeting. Mayor Stromberg, Councilor Voisin, Adam Hanks and I all attended the monthly meeting of the Chamber of Commerce Board last week. As you would expect, the Chamber is very focused on the 4th of July right now. Meiwen Richards also reported on the recent visit of a delegation from Fujin province in China. Finally, the Chamber's annual dinner will be on October 7 this year, so please mark your calendars if you plan to attend.
I think this is the major news of the week. Please let me know if you have questions.