Streetscape Plan is approved -- and available online

It's not quite summer reading, but policy wonks will be happy to know the new Downtown Streetscape Framework Plan is "available at the City Hall website":http://www.ci.northfield.mn.us/assets/4/4160frameworkplanfinal1.pdf. ( _PDF_ )

The City Council voted Monday to approve the plan, which includes reams of information about park bench styles, the color of street pavers and other civic fashion news. For those worried about light pollution, a separate study will be done this year to determine how to get a historic look with environmentally friendly lighting. More inside...

Seriously, the report is the work of a lot of people spending years on the details that can make a nice city an knockout. If you don't have time to read the whole report, here are highlights of the projects, described as a "string of pearls" through downtown. Project costs will be attached as designs are completed.

*Excerpt*:
The key projects (“pearls”) identified in the plan are considered significant spaces in the downtown that can either be designed or enhanced to create a memorable place that would contribute and enhance the overall image and experience of the downtown. The eight project pearls include:

* Library Corner – construction scheduled for 2006. This project is designed to create an outdoor gathering place, serve as a front door to the library, and provides an art pad to reinforce the idea of Northfield as an “Arts Town.”
* Water Street Parking Lot – This project redefines the area to serve as a gateway into the downtown, expands the functionality and image of the riverfront, provides an improved connection to Bridge Square, and adds flexible festival space.
* Fifth & Water Street Gateway – This project is designed to extend the edge of downtown to the river and Highway 3.
* Second & Division Street Gateway – This project is designed to reinforce the edge of downtown and coordinates with proposed entrance improvements for Carleton College.
* Highway #3 & Water Street Gateway – This project is designed to extend the edge of downtown to Highway 3, coordinate with recently completed parking lot and roadway enhancements, and “draw” potential users into the downtown area.
* Highway 3 & Fifth Street Gateway – This project is designed to extend the edge of downtown and “draw” potential users into the downtown area. * Woodley & Division Street Gateway – This project extends the edge of downtown to the Woodley commercial area, although uses less intense streetscape treatments in order to relate to the surrounding neighborhood.
* Historical Society – This project recreates period paving and street elements to enhance the imagery associated with the Defeat of Jesse James era.