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NDC to submit downtown plan to city


Downtown planning — Finishing compiling the report, Newberg Downtown Coalition recommends First Street be changed to a two-way thoroughfare and that a street downtown be closed

The Downtown Transformation Project is entering the final planning stages with a report full of recommendations being submitted to the city in the next week.

“We’ve had the two public meetings; we’ve got a whole bunch of input from people,” said Mike Ragsdale, Newberg Downtown Coalition executive director. “We’re going to prepare a quite specific report to submit to the city that will form the direction to downtown after the City Council approves it.”

He added that there are a few clear standout ideas the NDC will include in its proposal to the city.

“Clearly what the group decided in meetings is wanting to request First Street become a two-way (thoroughfare),” Ragsdale said. “There’s a strong leaning to recommend that either Howard or School be closed permanently and turned into a parklike setting between First and Hancock (streets).”

There was also support for increasing focus on public art.

“The Newberg Downtown Coalition will be taking the lead on forming a public art task force,” he said.

With finalization of the report around the corner, the NDC will also be able to finish its application for a Transformation and Growth Management Grant from the state.

“In our last request for one, the grant had to say ‘we will be visioning.’ As part of the process, we were scored down a little bit because it didn’t have that word ‘done,’” Ragsdale said. “They didn’t really want to fund that. Now we’ve gone ahead and gotten (visioning) out of the way.”

The preliminary grant application will be submitted in the next week, with a final submission due in mid-June.

“It’s really moving along,” he said. “I think it’ll be a really nice report and we’re anxious to keep it moving.”