Downtown Bend Business Assn. provides details on the Minnesota Avenue Pedestrian Parkway project
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Hours before a discussion with Bend city councilors, the Downtown Bend Business Association on Wednesday released details of a pedestrian promenade proposal that would remove cars from Minnesota Avenue, a proposal that has sparked many debates since its revelation last week.
Here is the full DBBA press release. NewsChannel 21’s Alec Nolan will cover the meeting and have more of this discussion on tonight’s TV news:
Founded in 1903, Downtown Bend has gone through many changes over the past 100 years. The most recent major investment in downtown Bend was made in the 1990s, when the Town of Bend used urban renewal funds to fund revitalization efforts. More than two decades later, it is once again essential to invest in the future of the historic heart of our city.
Downtown Bend fulfills many roles in our community. It is the largest employer in Bend, the number one tourist destination, the civic and cultural hub of our community, and it serves as an economic engine for the entire town of Bend. By investing in Downtown Bend, not only are we preserving our history, we are building our future.
As the organization with the greatest expertise in Downtown Bend, the Downtown Bend Business Association is leading a conversation about creating a vision for the future for the heart of our city. The Downtown Bend Business Association is a small, non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the vitality of Downtown Bend by enhancing the experience,
the image and lifestyle of the Downtown Bend Economic Improvement District.
The idea of pedestrian walks in downtown Bend is not a new idea. Desires for more pedestrian spaces, community gathering areas, and a somewhat slower-moving downtown have been present for years. The DBBA has, in recent years, received these requests from the public, organized meetings of traders on the subject and outlined plans on how these spaces could be used to benefit not only downtown stakeholders, but also from the community of Bend as a whole.
You may remember in 2019, before COVID, that the DBBA wrote a grant to create a Holiday Lane on the Minnesota block between Wall and Bond streets.
Now, two years later, at the request of the City of Bend, the DBBA has begun researching what it would take to create a permanent pedestrian promenade on that same block of Minnesota Avenue. DBBA’s board of directors created a committee, hired SZABO Landscape Architecture to design renderings, studied the history and development of the promenade, and engaged in personal one-on-one conversations with counterpart cities that have managed to create walks.
Once these first steps were taken, the DBBA brought this data to a meeting with business and property owners on Minnesota Avenue to solicit their comments, concerns and suggestions.
“We appreciate the thoughtfulness and insight that our stakeholders have provided,” says Aisling, Executive Director of DBBA, “and it all aligns with the data we gathered through our research and conversations with peer cities. It is clear that the development of public space, such as a pedestrian promenade, requires significant research and development and sustainable sources of funding.
The DBBA is showing up to city council on Wednesday evening to share its findings and recommend next steps.
These recommended next steps include funding a comprehensive planning effort to develop a comprehensive vision of the future for Downtown Bend, including the creation of pedestrian spaces such as Minnesota Ave, connecting Downtown Bend to the BCD, increasing access to bicycles. and pedestrians, developing new parking facilities, increasing public art – and more.
The DBBA will come up with collaborative ideas to model the use of Minnesota Avenue dynamically, while further research and development will be conducted on the feasibility of the Minnesota Promenade project. The DBBA will also ask the city council to commit to partnering with the DBBA to prioritize the construction of public toilets in the city center as the first step towards putting in place the necessary infrastructure to accommodate more people. guests to Downtown Bend, as a promenade would be designed to do so.
“It’s so exciting to see our community use their creativity to imagine what Downtown Bend might look like in 10, 20, 50 and more years.” says Aisling, “We are happy to provide our thoughts on what is needed to ensure the success of these ideas.”
More information on this project can be found on the DBBA website, www.downtownbend.org