Even though concerns and questions by citizens have been expressed over recent efforts by the City of Shelton to “dress up” Railroad Avenue, at this point, no response has been made by the City Commission.
The idea to “dress up” Railroad Avenue came about during a recent city planning retreat. The aim of improving the look of Shelton, specifically the downtown area was discussed, ideas were exchanged and “a plan” established. Not many citizens know what the commission’s plan is, as this project has not been presented at a regular public meeting - only at a previous ‘strategic planning’ retreat. The retreat, considered a public meeting is not a regular Commission meeting where decisions are typically made.
Public Works Director Greg Clark said the thought was to put fir trees along Railroad Avenue, planting them in boxes to contain the root system so the sidewalks would not be damaged by the roots. This idea is an effort to celebrate the “Christmas Town USA Theme” utilized in the past. The City decided to test out their plan by starting with only four plant boxes.
Forrest Cooper, Owner/Operator of Cooper Studios, located at 409 W. Railroad, Shelton, expressed his concerns for the newly built planter sitting on the corner of 5th and Railroad Avenue. The size of the planter is 5’X5’X3’1”. Cooper’s concerns are centered on the safety at the intersection. Specifically the ability for cars and pedestrians to have adequate view of oncoming traffic when trying to cross or enter onto Railroad Avenue from 5th street, and the ability of oncoming traffic to see a pedestrian attempting to cross the street.
Cooper was concerned enough to measure sight distances and ask his neighbors along Railroad Avenue for their opinion. The neighbors included the business owners, employees and building owners. 33 individuals signed a petition stating their concerns. Cooper presented the petition to the City Commission when he made public comment on the issue for the 2nd time.
The Commission “thanked’ Cooper for his citizen comment. KMAS will update this story when or if the Commission responds.
April 9, 2014/JE KMAS News
IMAGE/planter box on 5th and Railroad Avenue, Shelton, WA (April 9, 2014)