FURA explores beautification projects


Revision Florence, Downtown Revitalization Team and Public Art Committee share visions for Florence

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During the Jan. 25 Florence Urban Renewal Agency (FURA) meeting, the board of directors received updates on the $6 to 7 million ReVision Florence project, the Downtown Revitalization Team program and Public Art Committee activities . City of Florence Project Manager Megan Messmer said that more than $2 million of the estimated $6.95 million Revision Florence project was the result of a 50 percent contingency pad and future underground utilities.
   She told directors that the $1.6 million contingency number would come down as the project progressed and costs estimates became firmer.
   The city has negotiated a $460,000 not-toexceed contract with Murray, Smith and Associates to provide engineering and design services for the project.
   Murray, Smith Civil Engineer Chris Link said, "As we get more detailed the contingency (rate) will drop. Basically final plans will go to 3.5 percent."
   He said that figure was standard for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects.
   City Manager Erin Reynolds assured the board that this was not the final estimate. Mayor Joe Henry said, "If it can go up $700,000 in three months, the final number might be $9 million by the time we get done."
   Messmer said. "Basically we are figuring out what is our project and what is ODOT's project."
   Reynolds added that the FURA board would be able to make decisions in the next budget cycle that would bring the budget numbers in line.
   FURA Chairman Joshua Greene said because ODOT initiated sidewalk modifications, the city might be able to get the agency to pay for more of the sidewalk expenses. "In actuality, we may get more (money) out of ODOT that may cover overages that have to be spent," Greene said.
   Link said, "You don't know the final price until bids come in. Bids can come in really low or they can come in a little high."
   According to the project schedule, the design and public input will be completed by January 2018. ODOT will review project bids by March 2018 and the project, including paving, should be completed by fall of 2018.
   In other business, Downtown Revitalization Team (DRT) chairwoman Ellen Huntingdon said the committee was planning on bringing the hanging flower basket program back to Florence Old Town for 2017.
   Huntingdon said, "They were a big hit. We were able to get sponsorships for all 45 baskets. The Port of Siuslaw purchased an additional 10 for the port properties." She said the baskets would be delivered in April.
   Public Art Committee (PAC) member SK Lindsey reported that PAC has several projects planned for Florence by the end of 2018.
   The smaller projects include beautifying area trashcans, and bus stops.
   "The trashcan project will be low cost but high profile for the community ," Lindsey said.
   According to Lindsey, the group plans to raise money to cover the cost of local artists beautifying the bus stop shelters.
   "We also have a couple of 'wow' projects. One is the Siuslaw Bridge steps. We have a regional call to artists for this," she said.
   Lindsey said PAC was looking for ideas from the artists for the steps project . One idea she shared was to cover the steps in ceramic tiles that would compliment the architecture of the bridge. "We want Florence to be noticed and put on the map for its art scene," Lindsey said. "The largest project we have is a large mural at highways 126 and 101, so people coming in from Eugene will be able to see it. We will be looking for artists nationwide."
   The plan is for the mural to be painted on the east facing side of the Central Lincoln PUD building at 966 Highway 101.
   Lindsey also outlined a plan to create outdoor art galleries for artists to display and offer works of art for sale.
   Greene said, "The art will keep changing, which keeps it vibrant. The PAC plan is to start with six locations for the first round then go for six more and then go to 12 more by the end of the two year period. That will give us 24 pieces of art that will be on display ."
   He said the first six pieces would most likely be sculptures and installation pieces on pedestals.


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