Wilsonville residents provide input on Town Center streetscape plan
During community forums held virtually Feb. 9, local residents assessed streetscape designs for the Town Center commercial district, which the city is slating for redevelopment to improve attractiveness and mobility and allow for more mixed-use structures.
The streetscape portion of the project includes identifying designs and guidelines for elements of streets and sidewalks like benches, public art, pavement and lights.
"The completed plan creates a distinct look and feel for Town Center streets. Over time, the new streetscape will be critical in fostering a strong sense of place for residents, employees and visitors," the city's Let's Talk Wilsonville website reads.
During the second forum of the day, attendees overwhelmingly preferred an option inspired by the river environment, which emphasized fluidity and nature.
This option included using organic materials like wood for benches, having landscapes designed for public art and gathering spaces, and utilizing natural stone rather than polished stone. In this concept, street elements meander into each other and include "wave-like" patterns.
"I like the river concept. It has a nice flow to it," one attendee said.
Other options attendees considered included "technological innovation," which exuded modularity, simplicity and contrast, and "agricultural legacy," which emphasized timelessness and purposefulness.
The latter, which was the least popular option, was described as being utilitarian and practical. The former provided less defined and formal spaces, Sera Architects consultant Colin Roberts said, emphasizing open rather than closed plazas.
"When we talk about modularity and simplicity we talk about spaces that are less defined. Maybe it functions as an outdoor gathering space on one day but potentially as overflow for cafe seating another day," he said.
"Agriculture seems to be functional in many places but might miss that pizzaz. I'm personally most interested in the technology concept," one attendee said.
Ben Weber, also with Sera Architects, said making Town Center less confusing to navigate will be an emphasis in this project.
"Between the (city of Wilsonville's) wayfinding plan (to improve signage) and implementing that through street design, we hope there's a lot more logic and intuitiveness to get through the reintroduced street grid here," he said.
Referencing the Beauty and the Bridge project where students created murals at the I-5 Wilsonville Road underpass, a couple attendees hoped collaboration with Wilsonville High School art students would continue for the Town Center redevelopment.
"To incorporate the art classes at the high school to continue that tradition in Wilsonville would be extremely beneficial and rich with experience for the high school kids," one person said.
Others said public art in general would be invaluable to the project while another expressed appreciation for the plan overall.
"I think this (the streetscape plan) is a really important step toward a more vibrant and walkable Town Center. I'm a big fan of the plan. I think Town Center needs a lot," one attendee said, adding that the area is not a place he's drawn to currently.
The Wilsonville Planning Commission will consider the streetscape design in March and Wilsonville City Council is expected to discuss it in April.
To find out more information on this project, which is slated for completion this year, visit the city's Let's Talk Wilsonville page: www.letstalkwilsonville.com.
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