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[Ashland] History gets a facelift, facade renovations are on tap

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The renovations involve the renovation of facades and the inclusion of minor details to bring these buildings back towards their original design and appearance. It also features information regarding the next wave of downtown streetscape reconstruction. :thumbsup:

Article information: "History gets a facelift, By Carrie Kirschner, Daily Independent [Ashland], January 29, 2007"

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Main Street eyeing facades

Asked about specific buildings, Craig listed the Army & Navy Store, Ann Davis Gallery, Pendleton Art Center — part of the deal when the property was purchased — the Frame Up Gallery and others.

Work on the Ashland News building would also include a mural and quilt square, as part of the program would target facades on the block across from the Paramount Arts Center, Craig said.

Also on the list is the Parsons building, which city officials called a priority in Ashland’s economic development.

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Quick and tasty

Article information: "Quick and tasty, By KENNETH HART, Daily Independent, March 23, 2007"

A new eatery with local food opens in the Camayo Arcade. An exodus of businesses since the Ashland Town Center opened has hurt the beautiful structure, but it is slowly seeing a rebirth...

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Sounds like downtown Ashland seeing some good progress. Facade work can do wonders for a downtown and can be an important first step in breathing new life into a downtown area.

Jim's Hot Dogs and Spaghetti sounds like a great little eatery. Its great to hear about such a great small business started up and doing well. Thats definately the definition of "The American Dream" IMO.

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Jim's is an okay place to eat. Spaghetti is about the only thing you can really order there, but it does have a lot of local flair. Here is more info.

--

Main Street seeks contractors

Notes --

1. The facade improvement program has been delayed while the city searches for a company (contractor) that is 'civic-minded'.

2. About one-dozen buildings, from the Frame Up Gallery, Army and Navy Store, Ann Davis Gallery and Traditional Creations, are on the list for renovations. These are all between 13th and 18th Streets, and from the north side of Central Avenue to the Ohio River.

2a. The owners of the buildings volunteered for the project, and officals selected the buildings based on need and their 'potential to effect aesthetics downtown'.

3. Some contractors are weary of taking on a project due to the grant rules stipulating that it must fall within the Department of Interior historic preservation guidelines.

Article information: "Main Street seeks contractors, By CARRIE KIRSCHNER, The Independent, April 24, 2007"

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Not the standard living space

Notes --

1. Paul Castle is renovating a two-story downtown building in the 200 block of 15th Street (between Greenup and Winchester Ave.). The building, which is over 120 years old, is being renovated into two separate commercial businesses on the first floor and a loft apartment on the upper floor.

2. The building dates to the mid- or late-1800s; the farthest back he was able to trace the building was 1884 from a photo of a flood. On an 1886 map of the city, the building was labeled "Meat" which could mean that it was a butcher's shop. It was last used as office space for an insurance agency and an attorney.

3. The renovations include keeping the original hardwood floors on the second level. Two new bathrooms were installed on the second level, as well as a utility room, kitchen appliances, and cabinets. There is a planned roof-top patio and garden.

3a. The first floor will feature two businesses, each with their own entrance and address. 209 15th St. is 800 sq. ft.; 211 15th St. is 1,000 sq. ft.

3b. The approximate living space is 1,800 sq. ft.

4. The cost to buy and renovate buildings for living space and retail is "very reasonable".

5. Castle is on the waiting list for the Main Street facade renovation program, and on the empty retail space list in Ashland's economic development office.

5a. He suggested the city provide tax credits or other incentives for individuals who are interested in Ashland's downtown.

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I think parallel parking dissuades folks from shopping/visiting areas of town where that is the only option, so narrowing the lanes back down to two and changing the parking to diagonal should make downtown Ashland way more visitor friendly. A more visitor friendly downtown would mean an increased viability in downtown projects and increasing the potential of revitalization of downtown Ashland. On the other hand, it will tick folks off that their nice wide roadway was taken away, but in terms of whats best for economic viability of downtown, not the motorist alone, then narrowing is the way to go.

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Changing Winchester Avenue to two lanes and adding diagonal parking makes a lot of sense. The wide street in its current configuration encourages increased speeds, which means not being able to see what's happening in and around the buildings. It discourages pedestrians who have to fear for their safety when crossing the wide street with short crossing signal cycles. Only one block away, parallel to Winchester, is Greenup Avenue, a four and five lane highway. If motorists want to travel from one end of town to the other that is the route they should take. However, many prefer to take Winchester and gripe about the traffic signals slowing them down. Changing the the street configuration would make Winchester the local street that it should be.

That idea was floated a few years ago when the streetscape improvements were being planned. Despite being strongly supported by a prominent businessman in town, the folks in power immediately began a campaign to show how it would not work.

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Downtown face lift: Building owners take it upon selves to restore structure

By Carrie Kirschner, The Independent [Ashland], September 2, 2007

The Meade Building is having its facade restored after nearly 40 years of being covered with a metal awning. This week, workers have been removing the 1960s-era metal awning that has been covering the underlying brickwork, after strong storms that hit the area on August 16 promoted the removal after it had loosened some of the metal panels on the building. The two-story building, in the 1600 block of Winchester Avenue, is owned by Chuck and Pat Hatcher of Flatwoods and houses Michael Quade Decorating and Design and Ronk

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Providence Hill ready for condo phase: Prospective buyers get sneak peek

By Mike James, The Independent, October 7, 2007

Prospective buyers flocked to Prividence Hill on October 6 for a sneak peak of the proposed Bellefonte Bluffs development, and for a chance to drop down a deposit.

Bellefonte Bluffs is an eight-story luxury condominum tower with 47 one- to three-bedroom condos along with a lounge, community room, fitness and spa facilities, and a parking garage. The units will range from $300,000 to $500,000 and will overlook downtown Ashland and the Ohio River. The condos are the second phase of a $30 million residential and retail development by former Ashlander Fred Burns (now of Lexington). The first phase included 214 upscale-apartments that are nearing completion, and six of the nine buildings are fully occupied.

The final phase, a 60,000 to 90,000-square-foot upscale retail development, hasn

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Board looks to approve residential city parking: Effort is to motivate more to live in downtown.

By Carrie Kirschner, The Independent, October 8, 2007

The city of Ashland is looking to implement a downtown residential parking ordinance in an effort to motivate more people to live in downtown Ashland. It comes at the request of one downtown resident and several investors interested in developing multi-million dollar mixed-use projects in the downtown. The Board of City Commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance last Thursday (October 4), but a work session Monday (October 8) was used to discuss the proposal prior to holding a second reading.

Under the proposed ordinance, the city would implement a policy with a 1:1 ratio of parking passes to residential units for residential housing in the central business district. The CBD is defined from Greenup to Carter avenue, and from 13th to 18th streets. Residents living within the CBD would be eligible to buy a parking placard from the city for $100 annually, which would allow them to park on any side street crossing the downtown -- excluding Winchester Avenue. They would not have to move their vehicle every two hours or pay parking meter fees.

The permits would only be purchasable if their vehicle is registered to a downtown address, and would be required to have the unit inspected by Ashland's code enforcement office.

According to Ashland Economic Development Director Chris Pullem, downtown living is a critical component to downtown revitalization. Cities across the nation are encouraging downtown living as a way to facilitate urban renewal and to increase density. Parking is essential to these downtown projects, especially those that live on the upper floors of businesses. Many lending agencies, for example, require at least a 1:1 ratio of housing units to parking spaces in order to be competitive to developers.

A few downtown merchants oppose the move, such as C.J. Maggie's at the corner of Winchester Avenue and 15th Street. The restaurant encouraged commissioners to look into alternative solutions, and said that customers already complain of a lack of packing.

Some downtown revitalization projects include the former Second National Bank (e.g. Steckler's Building), which would be redeveloped into first-floor businesses and upper-floor loft apartments. As a result, commissioners requested a cost analysis of converting 15th Street to diagonal parking.

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^ That sounds like a good development to help foster more folks to move downtown. Even with the most interested folks the lack of parking would prove a big hurdle to overcome in regards to getting people to look at moving downtown.

A question though. The one restaurant complained about parking, so how busy and packed does downtown get? Is it just hard to find parking "near" the restaurant in relative terms, or does downtown parking on the whole get eaten up during the day and/or evening to the point where its hard to find any parking options?

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During the weekends, parking can become competitive around the restaurant but clears up after one block. Besides on-street parking, there is a surface lot adjacent one restaurant (soon to be developed though) and another one block away from a restaurant -- free for the public. It's not hard to find parking; people are just purely lazy.

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