The Mill Street promenade project in historic Grass Valley is getting closer to completion, but it can’t happen soon enough for some visitors, business owners and locals.
With the winter weather and spring rains, firm dates of completion are difficult to determine, according to Tim Kiser, Grass Valley City Manager, but crews are trying to finish up the stamped concrete before next week.
One of the goals of the project is to make a curb-less environment to enhance accessibility to businesses.
“We still need to remove sidewalk squares where the old street lights were to avoid any tripping hazards,” Kiser said.
The currently gray stamped concrete will be stained after it has cured for over 28 days to create a promenade that blends with the historical architecture and surrounding rock features.
“The stain is a mix of five colors that blend with the rock planters and other elements such as the black railings,” Kiser said. “There is a sample of the stain on Bank and Mill Street for folks to check out. A slab about 3 feet x 1.5 feet sample.”
In time, the current street lamps will be replaced with new lamps that maintain the historic character of the project.
“The black street lamps will have the gas-lamp look but with a hanging pendant rather than the current lamp at the top of the pole,” Kiser said.
“Strings of year-round white lights will attach to the tops of the pendant lights and criss-cross across the promenade adding additional decorative light.”
Businesses will have the option to secure parklets with uniform black railings and planters along the promenade will be similar in size and character, according to Kiser.
“Guidelines for similar furnishing options are available for individual parklets, but certain establishments may choose to keep a style unique to their business,” Kiser said.
The parklets vary in size depending on what the business wants, but typically the railed in parklets will be 8 x 20 feet or 160 square feet, according to Kiser.
“Businesses with liquor licenses will be given parklets at no cost,” Christine Larkin, Owner of Cake Bakery and Cafe on the corner of Mill and Bank Street said.
The final touches of landscaping have not yet been decided yet, according to Kiser.
“We are considering deciduous trees that bring fall color and can be up-lighted,” Kiser said. “We want to blend with the historic architecture and they will have to work well with the Christmas season.”
Custom rock planters and benches that also serve as planters, wrapped in steel and topped with wood, have been designed to include uplighting, irrigation and wiring for sound or music, according to Larkin.
“Mill Street itself is ADA compliant,” Larkin said. “Separately, while traffic will not be going through... emergency vehicles and vehicles, when we want to have them for parades or special occasions can access this area. The bollards at the end of the street can be removed when needed.
Deliveries could be scheduled if needed, according to Larkin.
“It really has become a gathering place,” Larkin said. “Look how safe it is for kids to run around and people to enjoy. This is awesome.”
The Grass Valley City Council unanimously approved the concept proposal for Mill Street promenade on September 14, 2021
A trailer-style movable restrooms have been brought in by special event coordinators, according to Kiser.
Drop off and loading areas for visitors will be at either end of Mill Street in addition to the South Church Street Parking lot at the Bank Street alley, according to Kiser.
“Additional ADA spots were added in the South Church Street Parking lot prior to removing the spaces on Mill Street,” Kiser said.
The proposed parking lot at 309 Mill Street. would add 30 or more spaces for visitors and residents in the neighborhood as previously reported by The Union.
The 309 Mill Street lot is still pending due to environmental reviews the City was asked to conduct at the end of March when concerns about possible wetlands were brought to the City’s attention.