JEFFERSON — The best of Jefferson’s existing historic, architectural past soon might play a big role in the future of the downtown if city planners’ concepts meet with public approval in the coming days.

The City of Jefferson has scheduled two public open houses in December to meet with citizens to evaluate and discuss a new $1.25 million streetscape design for the county seat’s downtown.

The events are set for Dec. 2 and 9, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., in the common council chambers at city hall.

“Feel free to attend at any time to review materials,” an invitation to the events stated. A project introduction will be presented at 4:30 p.m. each day.

“The public open house is an opportunity to learn more about the city’s new downtown streetscape design concepts, ask questions and provide feedback on the draft drawings,” Jefferson City Administrator Tim Freitag said.

According to Jefferson City Engineer Bill Pinnow, officials are looking at budgetary estimates from the planners of the project and are narrowing the scope of the work as planning progresses, with some of the labor scheduled to begin in the latter half of 2022.

Pinnow and Freitag said they are striving to achieve a project plan that is cost-effective, while bringing Jefferson’s downtown appearance and atmosphere more into line with the current century. The last time the overall look and feel of Jefferson’s downtown was addressed was in the early to mid-1990s.

“We anticipate design in the winter,” Pinnow said. “We are looking at bidding in the spring of 2022 and then doing the project work in the second half of next year.”

The cost of the project is included in the 2022 city budget and Pinnow said Jefferson currently is trying to determine if it wants to perform the work all at once, or in phases.

The total, tentative project cost would be $1,255,000.

“(The public) won’t want to miss this sneak peek into the downtown’s future and fresh look — a great combination of preserving Jefferson’s historical ambiance with a complimentary splash of current features,” said Jen Pinnow of the city’s chamber of commerce.

For more information on the event, or any part of the planning process, contact Freitag at (920) 674-7700 or email him at TFreitag@jeffersonwis.com.

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