AUBURN — The state has selected the consulting firm the city of Auburn will work with throughout the Downtown Revitalization Initiative planning process.
Director of Capital Projects Christina Selvek announced Thursday during the Auburn City Council meeting that the city will work with Bergmann Associates and pay the firm $300,000 out of its $10 million state allocation.
The city has previously worked with this firm on projects such as the Brownfield Opportunity Area, or Auburn Sparks, designation, the municipal zoning code update and a plan to turn a vacant State Street lot into a public park.
"It's nice to have a consulting firm we can kind of hit the ground running with," Selvek said following the meeting. "They know the community fairly well so hopefully we can get right to work and we won't have to spend time reviewing plans and studies and all that. So that was good news."
During her presentation to the city council, Selvek outlined the next steps the city will have to take since being awarded a $10 million downtown revitalization grant from the state.
Now that the city has its consultant, staff can get to work establishing a local planning committee, which will be made up of three state officials and 12 community members. The state has provided guidelines to the city on who should serve on the planning committee.
Selvek said she hopes to schedule the first local planning committee meeting in September. All planning committee meetings are open to the public. In addition, the city will be required to hold at least three separate public information meetings.
Municipal officials and private developers from previous DRI-winning communities have said that the public participation process is crucial to the DRI process. Selvek said the city will work with its consultant and the state to plan public events that will hopefully make the community enthusiastic about participation
"I know it's hard for people to get to public meetings," Selvek said.
In other news
• The intersection of York Street at North Street is closed as construction crews continue to replace water lines on North Street.
City manager Jeff Dygert said the intersection will remain closed for several days, however, all the businesses in that area are still open and accessible via Quarry Road.
"It's my understanding that those businesses are still, at this point, being well attended," Dygert said.
Crews are working on North Street between Carpenter Street and the city line. Currently, workers are boring under the the railroad tracks that run across North Street to put in a new waterline, Dygert said. Traffic lanes have been reduced to accommodate work in the area. Electronic signs have been set up to alert motorists of the traffic changes and road closures.
Construction began on this project at the beginning of August and is scheduled to be mostly complete by November.