April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Consultants to update Town Council on Main Street study

By HSJ Online [email protected]

A consulting firm will be updating the Hope Town Council tonight on its study of ways to improve the area around the Town Square.

Based on an earlier public workshop, that study includes ideas such as better traffic flow around the square, a slower pace for vehicles going down Main Street/State Road 9 and a system of trails connecting areas of the park with a revamped shelter house.

Main Street of Hope has been working with consultants Meg Storrow and John Kinsella, of Storrow Kinsella Associates, on the new downtown revitalization plan.

Dr. Greg Sweet, president of Main Street of Hope, said that the end goal is to unlock grants and state funds to improve the downtown area. A grant is paying for the revitalization study being performed by Storrow Kinsella.

The plan is focused on the area of the Town Square and a one block radius out from the square. The idea is to find ways to "activate" the downtown -- making it more attractive and enticing for the public and businesses.

At a public workshop in March, the consultants presented several ideas and suggestions they had gathered so far. Those included several relatively minor suggestions, such as refreshing existing buildings, adding historic signage, standardizing the downtown color scheme in and around the park, and choosing a theme for benches and planters around the square.

But other suggestions were more involved, such as landscaping, a patio and trails through the park and major efforts on corralling Main Street traffic.

To help slow down traffic passing through town and to improve traffic flow around the Town Square, the consultants suggested narrowing Main Street by installing an island with trees between the parking on the west side of the square, and the roadway.

They also suggested installing stop signs to slow traffic. But David Clouse, Hope Utilities manager, pointed out that stop signs would mean trucks downshifting and braking right outside of Norman's Funeral Home, which he said would be disruptive.

The next steps for the study will be another public workshop, where the consultants will present their recommendations based on the public input they have received so far. The location of next week's workshop has not yet been announced.

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