ASHLAND, Ore. — Construction changes to a southern Oregon city center is causing outcry from community members. Hundreds of people have signed a petition to redesign the Ashland Plaza.
One of the lead petitioners, David Sherr, believes the plaza doesn’t reflect the city he’s proud to live in.
“A lot of people really have broken hearts about it. I’ve been here 18 years, and seeing what’s been done to our town for us, we have to live with a strip mall plaza,” said Sherr.
Sherr says he doesn’t like the gray pavers and wishes there was more greenery in the plaza area. But Sherr says it’s not just the aesthetics he and over 400 people are most upset about.
“The concept plan that was created for the plaza had no public input, very little public input at the very beginning. If there had been more public opinion solicited right in the beginning, I don’t think you’d have this many people this dissatisfied with it,” said Sherr.
But city councilman Greg Lemhouse says the plaza design was a public process.
“This process took over a year, to my account there were 13 public meetings. It was covered by the news media and it was done during election time. So, it could have been an issue then. It certainly wasn’t secretive,” said Lemhouse.
City officials say they’ve identified the costs for a possible redesign.
“But anything that we do will cost money. It’ll be a factor we’ll have to decide…is it worth the cost, are we able to do that. I think there’s something that every one of us would like to change with any project and I’m not any different. But overall, I would hope the community would say number one, it’s an improvement of what was there and it’s a starting point for us to continue to work on,” said Lemhouse.
Council members plan to have a work session to further talk about the Ashland Plaza next month.
For more information on the Ashland City council agenda, click here.
For more information on the group petitioning for the redesign, click here.