Moscow beautification project advances

It’s been 15 years since the City of Moscow has attempted any significant effort to beautify its entryways. Now, Bill Belknap, community development director for the City of Moscow, said the Moscow City Council seeks to develop a plan to improve the city’s aesthetic appeal.

In 1999 and 2000, the city installed the Welcome to Moscow signs currently located at the north, west and east entrances, but did not take further action toward beautification.

Beginning in the 2013 fiscal year, the city council seeks a nine-member steering committee to direct a project to develop improvement plans for city entrances.

The city council has approved a total of $35,000 for civil and landscape design services for the project, Belknap said.

In April of every year, the city council sets annual goals, and this year, a rough project scope will push the beautification plan forward by 2014.

The beautification project staff is beginning to develop a preliminary scope, and is seeking city council comment and direction on its tenative plans, according to the City of Moscow Community Development Memorandum on the project.

The U.S. 95 and Highway 8 entrances to Moscow are the main focus. Belknap said the aesthetic quality of any road corridor has significant impact on a visitor’s perception of the city.

Belknap said the steering committee members will come from various local organizations: a city council member, a chamber of commerce representative, a representative from the Idaho Transportation Department and business or property owners along the beatification locations.

Planning, zoning and design professionals are also required in the steering committee, and Belknap said they will take into consideration the design elements that go beyond the beautification itself.

These elements include the condition of roadway surfaces, the street signage and lighting, public amenities, and adjacent site development.

Belknap said the steering committee will guide the project and provide the planning recommendations to the city council. Each of these street-side elements have factors that need to be taken into consideration, and will be explored by the Steering Committee and improved by City Council recommendations.

“Our hope is to utilize our funding for whatever our steering committee identifies,” Belknap said.

The steering committee will provide a project scope in six weeks, Belknap said, and after that, the project kick-off will take place around the middle of April. He said will most likely take place the final report and presentation sometime in September or October.

“The overall goals are that there are some landscape areas that are identified — there may be some areas for public art, there may be some decorative masonry,” Belknap said.

City Supervisor Gary Riedner, said the council’s goal is to give Moscow a more positive image and make it look less industrial on the north and south entrances.

Riedner  said the steering committee meetings are public and ideas from the people of Moscow will be taken into consideration when planning and design begins.

After these steering committee meetings, the recommendations will be brought back to the city council for approval and input.

Alycia Rock can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

 


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