Fulton discusses creation of city plaza

FULTON, Ill.— The city of Fulton is considering the creation of a city plaza at the corner of Fourth Street and 10th Avenue.

Greenspace Associates submitted a design, based on input from the Parks Committee, for possible hardscape improvements to the downtown corner. City Administrator Randy Boonstra presented the plan to the council last month.

"Sue (Van Kampen) and Barb (Mask) and I had been visiting on some ideas the last time we had a meeting together," Boonstra said. "I had a little sketch on the back of a piece of paper, and the three of us looked at it and said, yeah, that's kind of what we're thinking.

"So I invited a gentleman from Greenspace Associates down in the Quad Cities to come up and visit with us," Boonstra said. "And he was able to put some designs together."

The proposal incorporates a higher plateau, stamped concrete to look like red paving bricks, low steps and seating areas. The proposal calls for low-maintenance, live shrubs, a community gas fire pit and permanent location for the Christmas Walk tree.

"Just a nice area where people can relax," Boonstra said. "We're anticipating, you know, go downtown, get a cup of coffee, get a little sandwich, whatever you want to do. Get some carry out, come over here and sit. You know, pretty much nine months out of the year at least, and even in the cold months if you want to sit over by the fireplace."

The city is looking at either setting a timer to turn the fire pit on or turning it on during set times of the day, Boonstra said. The cost for the gas service will affect availability for the gas fire pit.

The decision will be up to the council, said Mayor Mike Ottens, but this might be a situation in which the city allows alcohol into the area.

"I applaud Sue's work on this one to get that corner from what it is now, just dirt, to something that I could see people of all ages, families, young, old, everybody using that corner," Ottens said. "Basically every day."

The city budgeted $20,000 for the project using money from the sale of assets from last year, Boonstra said.

"The next step is for us to get the estimates from the designer and go to the contractors who will stamp concrete," Boonstra said, after the council puts the project on the agenda and approves proceeding with the design.