City wants your opinion on Sparks Street refresh
Proposal would add more trees, new streetscape to pedestrian mall
Sparks Street is getting a refreshed look that brings 50 trees and more places to sit to the pedestrian mall — and the city wants to hear what you have to say about it.
Mayor Jim Watson unveiled the new designs Thursday afternoon, and the public can view them at a storefront location on Sparks Street. He said it's time the street gets an overhaul.
"There is no question that it needs some tender loving care," he said.
"It needs more animation, particularly in the non-summer months, when it's a little colder and a little bit more difficult to attract people."
Watson said he believes this attempt to refresh the street will go much better than in the past because all the players are involved, including the city, the National Capital Commission, the federal government and the Sparks Street BIA.
Trees encroach on patio space
Cliff Ladd, a property manager of two buildings near Bank Street on Sparks, said he's concerned the new trees could eat into restaurant patio space.
"That is the top priority for us, because that is a big chunk of their business in the summer," he said.
Generally however, he said he was impressed with the plan.
"I definitely like the streetscape proposal, the trees and everything else, it's about time."
Kevin McHale, executive director of the Sparks Street BIA, said he is confident the plan can work, adding that the trees will actually make the patio spaces better.
"Ultimately, it does create a nicer greener space for people to sit in," he said.
The public can weigh in at an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday at 79 Sparks St.