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Dateline Dixon: Beauty vs. functionality debated

Parking lot, proposed John Dixon statue discussed

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

The Dixon City Council discussed a few topics during a special meeting Monday night, but the theme of the night was a debate about beauty vs. functionality.

The City Council reviewed three options for parking along the south side of First Street, on the block between Hennepin Avenue and Galena Avenue. The City Council decided to go with all diagonal parking, which created the most parking spaces but reduced the aesthetics of the block because of narrower sidewalks and fewer trees.

That debate was covered in Tuesday’s editions.

However, a second discussion during the meeting was cut from Tuesday’s article because of space constraints and the fact that no action was taken.

But it was an important discussion.

That second discussion was about the northwest corner of Peoria Avenue and First Street, and again dealt with a debate about beauty and functionality.

Scott Brown, of Wendler Engineering Services Inc., one of two firms working with the city on the streetscape design, presented council members with a new plan for the intersection, one that created more landscaping and allowed for a proposed John Dixon statue to be presented in a way preferred by the sculptor and the Historic Preservation Commission.

But to do that requires more space, even more than the revised plan that was presented on Monday night.

The design presented includes 48 parking spaces in the lot at the intersection, which would be two more than are currently there, Brown said.

The proposed design for the Dixon statue shows the town’s founder sitting on a stool with his left hand extended to offer a piece of candy.

The inspiration for the statue, Brown said, came from stories of Dixon sitting in downtown and handing out candy to children and talking with residents.

The new design for the corner, which deviates from the original plan, creates a small seating area around the statue and more landscaping. But there could be more landscaping and an area more ideal for the statue if the city decides to reduce the parking spaces.

That was the debate between beauty and functionality.

Earlier in the meeting, council members, although not unanimously, sided with functionality in adding the parking spaces to a block of First Street.

Commissioner Dennis Considine said he didn’t think the city should add parking spaces in one area – on First Street – and take them away in another area of downtown.

Commissioner Dave Blackburn said he wanted to get a sense of what residents thought about the idea of losing one or two parking spaces to create a larger area for the statue.

The City Council is expected to get an additional presentation about the new design, as well as any additional costs that could come about from the change in work.

That could happen at the next City Council meeting, Brown said.

So the debate about beauty vs. functionality will continue.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini covers government and happenings in Dixon. He can be reached at mmencarini@saukvalley.com or at 815-625-3600, ext. 5529. Follow him on twitter: @MattMencarini.

SVM reporter at Books on First today

Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini will have "office hours" from 1 to 2 p.m. today at Books on First, 202 W. First St.

Feel free to stop by to let him know what's on your mind. Is there a story in Dixon you think should be reported? Stop by to share or just to say hi.

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