Deadline for grant application drawing near.

Planters and streetlights and brick accent strips and trees were all on the agenda at the Downtown Beautification committee meeting Tuesday night.

Paul Stoner, a representative of EBH & Associates, a local engineering firm, described the various elements in a proposed one-block layout display and took comments about the project.

Time is running short for Stoner and EBH to get all the information together and present a grant request to Kansas Department of Transportation. The $1 million project would upgrade downtown from First Street to Fourth Street.

The grant application can be done in phases so the city could apply again for additional blocks, Stoner said.

It is vital that every basic part of the plan such as lights, bricks, planters, trees, benches, ADA ramps, tree grates and refuse containers are on the grant application.

If something has to be left out because of cost restrictions, it is easy to remove it from the application. But nothing can be added once the application is filed so it is critical to set each design feature before the application is filed.

Another meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at City Hall and all members of the committee and Main Street merchants are encouraged to attend to help make basic design decisions.

Paula White of Southwind Hospice Thrift Shop said several people had spoken to her about the beautification project and comments were positive.

She did hear some concerns about the curb jutting out into the street but that was not part of the plan, Stoner said.

White also heard concerns that people might sit on the raised planters and not put their trash in the trash receptacles.

Many issues were discussed during the meeting. Steve Parsons of Parsons Jewelry wondered if a reinforced raised planter could be put in front of his store to help prevent criminals from ramming a vehicle into the front of his store similar to a recent event at a Hutchinson jewelry store.

Bill Skaggs of Skaggs Ace Hardware wondered if heating elements could be placed in the sidewalk in front of his store, as they are now to help melt ice and snow. He would favor any element that required low maintenance.

The maintenance of the plants in the raised planter boxes and the care of the trees, all planned as evergreens, would be handled through the city, Pinkall said.

All were concerned about access to their buildings during construction. Several in attendance spoke up for the delivery needs at Sears and how critical it was to have the front door access. Others reminded Stoner and Pinkall that some merchants did not favor the project and before the grant application was made that all opinions had been addressed and the majority of merchants were in favor of the project.

Pinkall, who has spoken to all merchants, said he felt the majority of merchants wanted the project.

Lighting for both the street and the sidewalk were elements that needed to be addressed. Stoner said a light over the sidewalk area could easily be added to the street light poles.

The plan includes a 10 feet wide strip of concrete in front of stores than a four feet wide brick accent. The bricks would allow access to electrical lines that are all going to be underground, Stoner said.

The city and grant would cover the cost of the $1 million project. It would not require an increase in property tax, Pinkall said

Present at the meeting were Paula White for Southwind Hospice Thrift Shop, Steve Parsons for Parsons Jewelry, Bob Eastes for Club D'Est and Uptown Café, Vanessa Taylor for the Young Professionals group, Bill Skaggs for Skaggs Ace Hardware, Joni Siemens for Stitch by Stitch and Cathy Hergenreder for Memories.