Paso formulating its priorities

Protecting historical buildings, constructing a downtown parking garage and adding new public restrooms to Downtown City Park are projects Paso Robles’ top leaders would like to first pursue in a detail-packed document that reshapes the city’s future.

“The priorities are still, at this point, in a draft stage,” city planner Ed Gallagher said, “and could be changed by the time the plan is adopted.”

Adoption could come at the end of the year, he added. Additional review meetings and a report detailing how proposed changes could impact the area are in the works.

Additional public meetings are slated for the summer.

The Uptown/Town Centre Specific Plan will change residential living, commercial and business use, transportation, parks “and the way the entire community comes together,” Planning Commissioner Gary Nemeth has said.

Ad hoc committees made up of City Council and Planning Commission members spent months reviewing the $1.5 million, five-chapter, consultant-created document proposing the new ideas.

The document, available on the city’s website, was first made public in summer 2009.

The members on Wednesday placed dozens of projects — from street realignments to adding terraces to Downtown City Park — into three different categories or removed them.

The various plans packed in the document outline when staff should set aside time to study or pursue funding through AB 1600 funds — money collected from new development; grants; or from the city’s general, redevelopment or enterprise funds.

Paso Robles officials’ goals include:

Short-term plans

These projects would be pursued over the next 10 years, as soon as money is available:

• add new public restrooms in Downtown City Park;

• build a parking structure;

• make 13th Street pedestrian-friendly;

• designate Park Street as part of the historic De Anza Trail;

• make Vine Street and Riverside Avenue bike-friendly;

• build a retail plaza along Spring Street between 34th and 32nd streets; and

• make parking angled on Spring and 13th streets.

Mid-term plans

These projects would be pursued during the next 10 to 20 years:

• expand existing retail northward to 16th Street and southward along Pine Street with specialty stores, restaurants and a few national retailers;

• build a park on a block bordered by 16th Street;

• improve pedestrian safety and access along and across 24th Street;

• add a new walking plaza on the north side of the Carnegie Library; and

• introduce public art in Downtown City Park.

Long-term plans

These projects would be pursued in more than 20 years but would become short term projects if grant funding is available:

• build a performing arts center;

• revitalize the Paso Robles Event Center and adjacent Pioneer museum and park;

• rezone the industrial area east of Spring Street between 24th and 28th streets to residential;

• build a pedestrian bridge at 12th Street;

• realign Pine Street westward between Fourth and Sixth streets; and

• introduce a small plaza at 10th and Spring streets to celebrate Paso Robles’ hot springs history.

Officials opted to remove from the plan proposals to build a trellis along 11th Street in Downtown City Park and add a food preparation area in the park.

For more information on the city’s options to re-shape the community, visit www.pasoroblestownplan.com