NEW RICHMOND -- City Council members held a work session virtually Monday night, April 26.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Two-way traffic on First
Council approved the conversion of West First Street to a two-way street for its entirety. The last time West First saw two-way traffic was more than 20 years ago. Council members based their decision on the responses of residents and businesses being impacted by the change to a survey posted by city staff on social media. Of the more than 100 responses received, 68% were in favor of the conversion while 32% were not.
The survey also presented three options for how the street might be laid out to accommodate two-way traffic including the cost to implement each. All three options garnered various degrees of support while 30% of respondents favored ideas not presented in the survey.
Council members determined that reaching agreement on a final layout will require further discussion between staff, residents and businesses, and so delayed a decision on a final layout for 60 days. The delay is intended to allow time for all parties to suggest, review and evaluate all design solutions and arrive at a consensus in time for the June 14 council meeting.
2. City revaluation halfway complete
City Clerk Michelle Scanlan informed council members that Accurate Appraisal has completed its walk-throughs of the first section of the city.
Walk-throughs of Section 2 began on April 26. Residents should have received postcards mid-April encouraging them to exercise one of three options to accomplish their walk-through: in-person, by phone or online.
A review of Section 1 showed that of the approximately 800 postcards sent out, 260 (about a third of homeowners) replied for walkthroughs: 80% interior, 15% over the phone and 5% virtual. A preliminary review estimates there will be an annual average increase since the last revaluation of 4.5%.
Accurate is scheduled to attend the June 28, to review the process and answer questions.
3. Flowers returning to downtown
Council members approved $6,000 to purchase flowers to fill planters and hanging baskets downtown along Knowles Avenue this spring.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of programs and budget items were cut in 2020, including the flowers typically provided to brighten up downtown.
“We have heard several comments from the downtown businesses, citizens and the tourism committee that they would really like to see the ‘City Beautiful’ with flowers in our downtown and hanging baskets,” Community Development Director Beth Thompson said.