Universal Plaza plans take shape in downtown Tigard
After months of discussion regarding what elements Universal Plaza should include, designers have come up with a more formalized plan for an expansive and elaborate downtown community space.
Tigard officials recently released design drawings of the plaza, slated for 1.8 acres on Southwest Burnham Street, which will be built in two phases. The first phase of construction is expected to begin this coming winter.
"Phase 1 will feature the community's most requested amenity — an interactive water feature and splash pad," said Lauren Scott, Tigard's community engagement coordinator. "Phase 2 will construct a show-stopping overhead canopy for shade in the summer and shelter in the winter."
The first phase is expected to cost $3.5 million. However, a construction manager/general contractor is expected to refine those costs as the project moves along, according to Scott.
Plans are to open Phase 1 in late summer or fall 2022.
The second phase, which currently has no construction timeline, will be built with funds from the recently passed urban renewal plan amendment, along with other projects.
Over the last year, numerous pre-plaza artwork has been installed at various times on a temporary basis — including a 34,000-square-foot ground mural, gobo lights, musical benches, illuminated haikus projected on a building next to the plaza and a large fabric-over-scaffolding piece.
When completed, Scott noted that the entire plaza will be a walkable and accessible space for everyone.
To get the most diverse opinions on what the plaza should include — focusing on the overall theme of "a shared humanity and our one shared planet" — the city convened community design advisors. Those advisors were invited to attend events in October of last year as well as this January and April, said Scott.
"At each of these events, community design advisors had a chance to visit the site and answer questions online and/or attend a virtual meeting to see progress and provide input on design elements," she said. "This group was never formalized because we wanted to keep it a fluid process where people could opt in and opt out at their convenience — though many of the advisors chose to attend all three sessions."
She said a total of 60 design advisors were involved in the design, representing many different aspects of the Tigard community. Design of the project is being overseen by RIOS, a Los Angeles-based firm.
"Together, the project team and the community created a one-of-a-kind plaza that will be the showpiece for our revitalizing downtown," said Scott.
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