Courtesy Illustration One version of the welcome monument for Avon Park would include an archway to attract residents and visitors, would stand 20 feet tall and would cost $100,000 to build. A ground-level version without an arch would stand at 13 feet and cost $15,000 less for a total cost of $85,000. It would be less visible from a distance.
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published: Sunday, October 06, 2013
A warm welcome
By PHIL ATTINGER
AVON PARK -- Residents may get their first look this month at plans for new city gateways.
However, depending on funding, it may take as long as 10 years before plans become the monuments and parks on both ends of Avon Park's Main Street.
That's why members of the advisory board for the Main Street Community Redevelopment Agency agreed Thursday to have representatives from Tindale-Oliver & Associates Inc. in Orlando put together construction plans on the gateways for CRA Board and Florida Department of Transportation approval.
Once that's done, the city could get started revamping its image to motorists arriving on state and federal highways.
Architect Randy Raiman and designer Mark Erquitt have advised turning the wide medians on Main Street at the intersections of U.S. 27 and South Delaney Avenue into pocket parks with improved crosswalks, meandering paths and each with a monument welcoming motorists to Avon Park.
Erquitt and Raiman designed two monument types -- one archway and one ground-level -- with the same brick and cornice styles as the historic Avon Park City Hall and The Hotel Jacaranda to fit the downtown character.
The CRA board when it meets on Oct. 28 could then make that choice. The archway, although $15,000 more, also invites pedestrians to gather around and inside it.
"We want to create a sense of arriving in Avon Park," Erquitt said.
At the U.S. 27 intersection, they advised putting the monument as close to the intersection as the Florida Department of Transportation allows, to make it visible to motorists but still almost 200 feet back, to protect the city's investment if FDOT plans further improvements.
The city would want to install low-growing plants in front of the monument so they won't block it, Erquitt said, and relocate the existing Phoenix palms to help soften the appearance of a street lamp at the intersection.
Also, he said crosswalks at both proposed parks would to draw residents and visitors to the monuments and walkways.
Estimated construction cost for the entire proposed west gateway from U.S. 27 east to Anoka Avenue, including a 20 percent contingency, is $309,848. The estimate for the east gateway from South Verona Avenue east to South Delaney Avenue is $264,327.
However, Erquitt said he and Raiman also have cost estimates to do the project in phases using the choice of monuments. All estimates include a 20 percent contingency fund.
With ground-level monuments, the entire west gateway would cost $293,288 and the entire east gateway would be $247,767.
The west end first phase would start at U.S. 27 and end just east of the Oscar Johnson and Victoria Johnson Bouis Memorial Fountain. That would cost $267,666 with an arch and $251,106 with the ground-level monument.
The east end first phase would just include the median in front of city hall: $157,058 with an arch monument and $140,498 with a ground monument.
Raiman told the advisory board that he and Erquitt would provide the CRA board with construction drawings and cost estimates so the CRA can get approval and permits from FDOT, since the plans would include crosswalks. Then the city can get permits from FDOT and have them renewed each year instead of reviewed again, Raiman said.
Administrative Services Director Maria Sutherland said she liked that idea. Also, using its own funds rather than state grants may help the city avoid spending time and money on regular reviews, she said.
Advisory board member Robert Flores said it's better to get permits as quickly as possible, because requirements change. He also recommended doing the west gateway first, since it would have the most traffic and the highest impact.
Gateway (by: Charah - 10/9/2013)
What a waste of money. Why would you build a gateway to a city that has absolutely nothing to offer. God forbid you drive off the beaten path of main street , east or west, 2 or 3 blocks to the north or south it is a garbage dump. Houses that are shacks that would make most lock their car doors as they drive through. Concentrate on making your city "charming" by cleaning it up . Give people a reason to want to come and visit your city. Soon you will find your gateway to be nothing more than an exit way.
identity crisis? methinks not (by: Power Shot - 10/8/2013)
Oh ! How I long for the good ole days of corrupt police officers, higher taxes, segregation and all those wonderful attributes that define a community... And who could forget the height of identity recognition with the "Englsih Only' law that old Mayor Macklin pushed so heartily. Oh yes, that is the identity I want.
Identity (by: rat tail - 10/8/2013)
Who ever said that a fire department defines the identity of a community? The vast majority of those guys dont even live in the City.
@ sam the black man (by: essie - 10/8/2013)
First Mr Sam- you ain't black. You are nothing more than typical hillbilly trying to undermine others with hateful words. shame on you,
RRXing (by: AP worker - 10/8/2013)
The railroad tracks are owned by the CSX company. they are the only ones allowed to work on the crossings.
Mentality of the dead (by: Been Here - 10/8/2013)
All the negative responses here are nothing more than the typical hate that permeates this beautiful city. If you dont like the town, then get the hell out.
AP Sign (by: Down with AP - 10/8/2013)
The arch looks stupid and old. I guess they tried to pattern it after The Jacaranda (Which is a dump) or City Hall (Also a dump). 10 years to build it? Come on, total nonsense. Typical Avon Park mentality.
Main Street (by: Joe Macy - 10/7/2013)
Spend some of that money and fix the railroad crossings on main street once and for all. I can not understand why they do quick fixes which only last a few months. The railroad crossing on 17 was fixed the right way. Now you barely feel crossing it. When you go to barrow on 60, crossings are excellent. Do the right thing and fix the damn railroad crossings so will last a long time.
gate (by: sam the black man - 10/7/2013)
This is what you should worry about not gateway...Avon Park jogger accosted at gunpoint manages to run away, authorities say
Gateway (by: sam the black man - 10/7/2013)
Gateway to what the town is a dump use that money to clean and get rid of all the crappy shacks.....
Really?!?!? (by: Disgusted in AP - 10/7/2013)
What a terrible idea!. What the "City of Harm" really needs to focus on is bringing back its identity. These monuments would be a waste if there was nothing for the "City of Harm" to provide otherwise. Avon Park has nothing other than a Fire Department. Sebring continues to lead the way in terms of festivals and community events. This just seems like another bucket for the "City of Harm" to throw money into. The Council Members and Mayor should be looking at other ways to grow the appeal of Avon Park.
waste of money (by: gravel - 10/7/2013)
Sounds like a great way to crap away a half million dollars.
AP Downtown (by: Kent Steele - 10/6/2013)
So what's going on with the Fernandez boarding house mediation? They seem determined to ruin the neighborhood like they've done with their other properties.
Nice addition (by: just sayin' - 10/6/2013)
Maybe the signs should have a "don't let the door hit you in behind" on the back side of them for all those people that live here but hate it here...
Avon Park (by: Blindman~ - 10/6/2013)
New gateways for the City of Charm~ Rock oN
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