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Downtown Plaza & Corridor Improvement Plan Community Meeting

The first community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4th between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m

The Project Background and Study Area

Dr. Dwight Murray Plaza (“The Plaza”) is a civic plaza that was constructed in the early 1980s by the former Redevelopment Agency under the auspices of “urban renewal.” Many of the original elements have since been removed, including a clock tower and trellis structures.

The Plaza is bordered by Brown Street, which was closed to automobile traffic and integrated with The Plaza as a pedestrian corridor. This corridor connects people to and from important locations such as the 2nd Street Parking Garage, Napa County offices in the Carither’s Building, the Pearl Street Parking Garage and surrounding lots, Kohl’s Department Store, the community’s 9/11 Memorial, and nearby retail businesses. The corridor also provides access to Main Street.

The Plan

This plan will build upon existing work in the downtown including theDowntown Specific PlanDowntown Riverfront Urban Design Plan, andCity of Napa Bicycle Plan. The project will specifically focus on enhanced pedestrian and civic amenities and address the interface between public spaces and adjacent private properties.

Utilizing a consultant, the City’s Community Development Departmentwill deliver a schematic design plan for The Plaza and the adjacent pedestrian corridor. The Plan will include realistic cost estimates for final design and a preliminary construction estimate. Construction of the improvements will occur at a later time and is not part of this process.

Plan development will rely heavily on extensive stakeholder and community input. It will also reference the City’s Downtown Specific Planguidelines and include consultation from a professional art consultant. 

Planning considerations include the impact of the recently approvedArcher Hotel and Napa Center, (see photo above) which together will significantly increase pedestrian and vehicle traffic in Downtown Napa.

The Goals

This project presents a unique opportunity to transform and revitalize this important public space, now outdated and underutilized. With the intensification of development in the immediate area of First Street, it is time to redefine and activate the plaza, one of the most visible places in Downtown Napa and the traditional gathering place for community events. Goals for The Plaza & Corridor include, but are not limited to:

1. Building in versatility for recreational use (passive vs. active space) and for different user groups who will enjoy the space. Landscaping will provide shelter from the natural elements, while ensuring business visibility through the plaza.

2. Creating important and natural connections that draw people in, and encourage them to explore other varied, well-designed spaces that Downtown Napa offers.

3. Developing a distinctive identity and memorable “sense of place” for Napa residents and visitors alike, using activated walkways, sustainable landscaping, high quality public art, and interesting streetscape treatments.

The Schedule

The beginning stakeholder outreach began in September 2015. The outreach included local stakeholder interviews with the design team. The first community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4th between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. This meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers inside City Hall, at 955 School Street. 

A series of draft design concepts will be created and presented to the public for feedback at the community meetings. The second community meeting is tentatively planned for January 2016.

The initial draft design plan is expected to reach City Council for official review and comment by February 2016. The design team expects to be able to present the final draft to council in late March of 2016. Final project design is targeted for completion in Spring 2016.

The Team

The City has contracted with Bottomley Design & Planning (BDP) andvanderToolen Associates (vTA) to evaluate and create a conceptual design for Dwight Murray Plaza and the Brown Street corridor. This collaborative team brings unique strengths, knowledge, and experience to the project. Both BDP and vTA worked together on the Downtown Napa River Flood Protection Project.

Sub consultants include the civil engineering firm RSA+, the traffic engineering firm W-Trans, and a public art consultant who has worked on numerous public art projects in the Bay Area. This consultant will play an important role in exploring opportunities to incorporate public art into the design process. This work includes the analysis and identification of the possible types and forms art that will be most appropriate for the spaces.

The cost for completion of the design work is $98,500.00.

If you have questions about this City project, please contact Shari Cooper at scooper@cityofnapa.org.