BEMUS POINT - Beauty and practicality are working together in the Bemus Point Streetscape project.
An unveiling of types occurred recently at the Bemus Point Village Hall, and guests had the opportunity to hear Mike Ridley, C&S Companies landscape architect, discuss how the Bemus Point Streetscape project could change the look of downtown within two years.
"What we're trying to do is to achieve some of the priorities that the village wanted to do in improving the streetscape," Ridley said. "The No. 1 priority is trying to improve the pedestrian environment. A big part of this project is going to deal with providing wider sidewalks and crosswalks in the core areas of the village, meaning lakeside, the center of the village, and Main Street."
Ridley said that increasing pedestrian access on Lakeside Drive was a priority. By widening sidewalks and crosswalks, it would provide room for benches overlooking the Bemus Bay area, which is something the village currently doesn't have.
"We're proposing to take a section of the parking spaces out (along Lakeside Drive) and create a sidewalk with benches, with the purpose of offering people a place to sit and view the lake from the village, since there aren't too many opportunities for pedestrians to do that right now."
Ridley said improving the parking situation downtown is also a very high priority of the project.
"The goal is not necessarily to gain parking spaces, but to make better use of the parking spaces that are currently available," Ridley said. "One of the things we are going to try to do at the main intersection is to pull the road back into the right-of-way, where the pavement has sort of spilled over it. There is currently a pretty steep slope and then a sidewalk, and the goal is to eliminate the grass strip along the lake on Lakeside Drive, and replace it with a curb and sidewalk."
Ridley said that creating a pedestrian drop-off area close to the downtown was a priority, as parking is more plentiful in other parts of the town. He also said that the parking spots that are currently on Lakeside Drive will be transformed into angled parking, which should help to create more space and reduce confusion from vehicles trying to park.
"No more motorcycle parking spots," quipped Bryan Dahlberg, Bemus Point mayor.
Finally, Ridley said that an encompassing goal of the project was to improve the overall aesthetics of the village. Although improvements to pedestrian and vehicle areas will no doubt also improve the aesthetic quality of Bemus Point, Ridley said there are also ideas that C&S Companies is trying to implement that would give Bemus Point a stronger sense of identity.
"The benches which we would like to see along Lakeside Drive have circles built into the armrests, and we'd like to see the sailboat that the village uses as a sort of logo built into those circles," Ridley said.
Ridley also added that it is part of the plan to cover select telephone poles in order to make them look more ornamental, and improve signage and lighting downtown as well.
Posters that show some of the proposed changes incorporated in the Bemus Point Streetscape project are available to view in the Bemus Point Village Hall, located at 13 Alburtus Ave.
The project is scheduled to go to bid in the fall.