Clouds and sun

Healdsburg moves forward with gateway redesign

  • The intersection of Healdsburg Avenue, Mill Street and Vine Street, in Healdsburg.

Healdsburg officials are pushing an ambitious plan to transform the gateway to the downtown despite uncertainty over funding.

The loss of redevelopment programs statewide has removed a way to help kick-start the plan, which calls for traffic roundabouts, a new southbound on-ramp to Highway 101 on Westside Road, new streets and pedestrian paths to the Healdsburg Plaza.

"We're in a quandary with a lot of projects," Mayor Gary Plass said of the demise of the redevelopment agency and its impact on urban renewal plans. "The dream is it would still move forward."

The vision is detailed in a newly-released draft plan that establishes guidelines for public infrastructure and private investment in the Central Healdsburg Avenue and train depot area.

The goal is to create "a sense of arrival, calm traffic and create a comfortable walking environment," according to consultants.

It's also intended to stimulate economic and residential development in the area, generally south of Mill Street between the freeway and the Russian River.

The study was conducted because a number of parcels in the area are for sale, or being considered for new uses, including the 12-acre Nu Forest Products lumber yard.

The 149-page plan proposes land uses, building designs, circulation framework, trail and creek improvements and utility upgrades.

The City Council last week approved a $160,000 expenditure toward the environmental impact report for the plan.

Most of the funds for the environmental work come from the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission because the plan aims to integrate future development with train and bus service at the depot.

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