With parking revisions being made, the Douglas City Council agreed to accept a resolution approving a streetscape design for G Avenue.
According to background information supplied in the council packet, in 2010-11 the City commissioned a Downtown Revitalization Study and Plan that was adopted in 2012. While the plan was adopted, it was never funded until the current FY 2019-2020 budget. In an effort to ensure that the public preferences and vision from 2010-2012 were still valid, four outreach meetings were held in the fall of 2019 at various locations in and around downtown, culminating with the largest meeting at the Visitor Center on October 15, 2019. The Planning and Zoning Commission also reviewed the document on February 4, 2020. Staff took the information from the public meetings, ranking design element preferences, and has created the attached draft design for approval by the city council.
Towards the end of the meeting, Councilman Donald Huish said he wanted it understood that what the council did by approving the streetscape design was give direction to city staff to develop a design and bring it back to the council for approval.
“We’re going to go out for a bid to get a professional firm to come in and design it and come back to the council so that we can go and start doing things on the street,” Douglas’ City Manager Jerene Watson said after the meeting. “The first phase was done when we changed the parking to angular. That was part of the plan, something the public said they wanted. There’s no actual plan yet, but this gives us a good guide as a company comes in and gives us the architectural design.”
“We’ve heard nothing but good things about the parking changes,” Peter Gardner, Douglas’ city planner added. “I’ve gotten a lot of nostalgic comments from business owners, that it reminds them of the way it used to be. We want to make G Avenue more coherent, more welcoming and hopefully because of that we’ll start to see more businesses move back in. On those blocks that we’ve changed, its been a 40 to 50 percent increase in the parking spaces.”
“And (we want to) make it industrial friendly,” Watson chipped in.
The council also approved a resolution supporting House Bill 2705 regarding absentee landlords of vacant and abandoned buildings.
“Presuming the legislation gets passed the, next step would be for the city to adopt the ordinance,” Gardner said. “This would give us a very powerful tool to clean up those buildings. The cleaner and nicer they look, the more likely they are to be filled.”
Watson added, this would also allow the city to hold both the in state, as well as the out of state, landlords accountable.
The mayor and council also took steps to make sure the Douglas Shooting Range on Geronimo Trail remains open and does not close.
The City of Douglas has been entrusted with the care of the Shooting Range on Geronimo Trail since 1986. In August 2019, the Arizona Army National Guard (AZNG) brought the attendant license/lease agreement current by executing an amendment to the original License and converting the agreement to a month-to-month lease. In the meantime, the City of Douglas seeks to enter into a more permanent arrangement with the Bureau of Land Management for continued management of the Shooting Range.
Currently, the Shooting Range continues to be managed for the City by the Douglas Rifle and Pistol Club (DRPC), a nonprofit corporation who is empowered to administer the Shooting Range by way of a Lease Agreement that has also expired and dates back to November 1990 and has also been functioning on a month-to-month basis. The parties plan to bring the lease agreement current as they move forward with the BLM application process toward more permanent possessory rights for the City.
At the start of the meeting, the mayor and council honored Elizabeth Ames, Douglas’ first and only female mayor who served from 1990-1996. Ames’ family was on hand to receive the proclamation read by the mayor.
Council woman Margaret Morales honored the following businesses for their years of service to Douglas: Cilantros and Chickn’Go, each five years; Koral Haircut, 10-years; Family Dollar and Dollar General, 15-years each; O’Reilly Auto Parts, 20-years and Barbara’s Boutique, 25-years.
Councilman Ray Shelton recognized Boy Scout Troop 430 and Councilman Jose Grijalva recognized Dana Camila Nunez, Reginna Vasquez and Michelle Para the top three winners of the Loretto Catholic School Spelling Bee which he helped judge.