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Boulevard fix gets backing

Mark R. Madler

When Clancyna Atkins opened her day spa and salon on Burbank

Boulevard four years ago, it was a street lacking in trees and which

didn’t market itself to potential customers.

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“It was not an attractive area,” said Atkins, owner of Image III

Salon. “There were things that I thought could be done better.”

Now, the city is taking steps to beautify the 2.2-mile stretch of

Burbank Boulevard from Victory Boulevard to Clybourn Avenue to

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attract more people to its businesses.

The council on Tuesday approved by a 3-to-1 vote spending $225,000

to paint the traffic signals, enhance street signs and implement the

final phase of a banner program as part of a long-term effort to

brand the area as a destination for shoppers and visitors.

“This is our major boulevard,” Councilwoman Marsha Ramos said. “It

has our name all over it.”

As president of the Burbank Boulevard Merchants Assn., Atkins

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applauded the city’s actions.

Banners hanging from the streetlamps have been in place since

November. The final phase would include a new design and special

designs to hang during the fall and spring seasons.

“Even that little bit made a difference,” Atkins said of the

banners. “Just driving down the boulevard it was warmer, it said

something.”

The council vote also approved a conceptual design for additional

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improvements to the boulevard that carry an estimated $8-million

price tag.

Some of the proposed improvements included in the design are

street resurfacing, street trees placed every 40 feet, benches, bike

racks, tree grates and guards, painted light standards and accent

paving at major intersections.

Councilman Dave Golonski cast the dissenting vote, citing the high

cost of the project.

Golonski could not support the conceptual design if that was what

was driving the cost, Golonski said.

“I’m willing to invest in the area to improve the look but not at

this amount of money,” Golonski said.

Meetings took place between city staff and residents, property

owners and business along and near Burbank Boulevard to develop the

conceptual design.

The Burbank Boulevard Streetscape Oversight Committee also

reviewed and approved the design.

Mayor Jef Vander Borght, a member of the oversight committee, said

the budget numbers were only preliminary and could change.

As the project proceeds, city staff would be aware of keeping the

costs down, City Manager Mary Alvord said.

“If there are options, we will bring back options,” Alvord said.

“But I think we can use the conceptual plan to move forward.”


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