Avon’s bold downtown plans | VailDaily.com

Avon’s bold downtown plans

Matt Terrell

AVON ” Bold public art, intricate lighting and open, bustling plaza spaces ” all evoking images of mountain valleys and Avon’s history ” will be major parts of Avon’s future Main Street.

The final design of Main Street is nearly complete and should be going to the Avon Town Council for approval next week. Main Street has existed as a concept for years, but town planners are finally nailing down the details on lighting, building materials and artwork ” the small things that will define what this hub of shops, plazas and restaurants, all anchored around Nottingham Park, will look like.

If everything goes according to schedule, Main Street construction will begin in the spring of 2009. Town planners and Britina Design Group will be presenting the final design for Main Street to the Town Council on Tuesday.

The general feel of Main Street will be a series of open plaza areas with plenty of benches, trees, shops and restaurants with patio seating, all within walking distance of the library, recreation center, the new transit center, the Westin gondola and a planned five-story parking garage. Main Street will allow one-lane, one-way car traffic leading from Avon Road to Lake Street.

The decorative theme of Main Street will evoke images of life and history of the mountain valley ” of flowing rivers, green pastures and agriculture. Building materials will be recycled or local. Colors, shapes and layouts will be round, soft and organic feeling. Artwork will try to “symbolically” tell the story of Avon and its people.

Most people, so far, seemed pleased with how this whole area is looking. Most suggestions to planners seem to be small things ” someone likes this artwork and not the other, or a certain kind of lighting here would look tacky, or the chairs look totally out of place in a plaza area.

“I’m excited about Main Street ” this will really be something we can be proud of in the town,” said Joy Ervin.

At the east entrance of Main Street, where you would enter from Avon Road, you’ll find a grand entrance ” something planners hope will welcome visitors and make an impression. This is where cars would enter. Public art in the plaza area here would be bold, easily visible and “interactive.”

At a public open house showcasing the Main Street design Thursday, one resident suggested this as a theme for the art: “It would be cool to evoke the mudstone cliffs above Beaver Creek’s entrance.”

Further west on Main Street, you’ll find the plaza area where Lettuce Shed Lane meets Main Street.

Lettuce Shed Lane, named in honor of the lettuce industry that once defined Avon, will be the newly built pedestrian path connecting Avon Station, the Westin and the gondola to Main Street. This will be one of the major tourist entrances to Main Street.

Along Lettuce Shed Lane, you’ll find a series of interactive panels that give a narrative of Avon’s history ” the kind of thing you would find at a museum, with names, dates, drawings and a timeline.

In the plaza area at the end of Lettuce Shed Lane on Main Street, you’ll find seating centered around an outdoor fireplace, giving it the feel of an “indoor living room,” planners say.

“This is the kind of place we really need here ” makes it feel like a real place instead of just a big bus stop to Beaver Creek,” said resident Priscilla Hughes.

Head further west, and you’ll come across an open plaza area by The Seasons. Planners say this will be the heart of Main Street, one of the main gathering areas. This is where there will be moveable seating, some outdoor dining, carts and kiosks for food or bike rentals. At night, maybe you would find a small concert, or on the weekend, maybe an outdoor market.

Public art here would be colorful, decorative artwork on the pavement.

Keep going west, toward the park, and you’ll come to the library, town hall and recreation center, and a small plaza area connecting them all together.

Public art would be whimsical and colorful, something that would conjure images of stories told in the library. One planned piece might be sculpture using the letter “A” stacked on itself in different types and colors.

Finally, you arrive at the park, where Main Street intersects with Lake Street. Main Street will sort of “overlook” the park and have steps leading down. Near the park’s entrance, you’ll find some sort of water feature, a fountain and sprays with lights.

All throughout Main Street, you’ll find trees and small, intricate lighting, such as lighting by the historical artwork along Lettuce Shed Lane, lights on steps, multi-colored lights on trees or beam-style lights by the water feature at the park.

The lights won’t be so bright that you can’t see the night sky, planners say.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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