The streetscape renovation on River Street has opened to mixed reviews. Most agree that this project accomplished a much-needed renovation; however I have heard a number of concerns:
· Batavia spent far more of its TIF funds than planned, which will hurt its ability to improve other targeted areas.
· The remodeling resulted in a reduction of parking in an area that already lacked adequate parking.
· The parking is confusing: It is difficult to identify where the parking actually is allowed and has resulted in vehicles being ticketed or blocking through traffic.
· Batavia City Council hired design consultants without seeking proposals from qualified local professionals. This alienated local design firms who have now missed an opportunity to contribute within their own community.
The city council is about to approve a design for the crowning piece of the project: the decorative entry arch. What began as a line item budgeted at $55,000 was then increased to $90,000 in June, 2012. That cost has now risen to approximately $120,000 when professional design fees and lighting are included. Below is a rendering of the proposed arch.
As an architect, I am respectful of the efforts of other architects and designer professionals
I have tried to remain open about this arch design. I have reviewed the drawings and the 3D images several times.
To call this structure an arch is not accurate. The design is more of a tiara, an intricate halo, 30-feet in diameter, hovering14-feet above the street. It is supported from cables suspended from a heavy timber structure.
I don’t think this design is successful. The timber and steel design does not fit contextually with Batavia’s historic surroundings, nor does it represent Batavia’s future. It is an expensive, garish structure.
I think we can better spend $120,000 of Batavian’s tax dollars elsewhere. Or not at all.