Berkeley lands $1.8 million for downtown renovations

July 29, 2010 1:42:32 PM PDT
The city of Berkeley is working on a major facelift to its downtown area, and today, the city landed $1.8 million in funding to improve downtown's central BART plaza, according to the Berkeley mayor's office.

"This is a tremendous step toward revitalizing downtown Berkeley," Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said. "The BART plaza is the heart of downtown, and its renovation has been long overdue."

The city completed plans for the renovations years ago, proposing a complete overhaul of the plaza that would create a more pedestrian-friendly center that increased access to BART and AC Transit.

The design for the downtown plaza includes cafi seating, new landscaping, lighting improvements, and new features to improve storm water management. The city will also be creating a plan to redesign the rotunda above the BART station entrance.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission awarded the city the $1.8 million in grants to help with the revitalization project.

According to the mayor's office, the BART plaza is an underutilized public center, and the plan is meant to transform it into a "vibrant center for community activity" and a "cornerstone for our new green downtown area plan."

A measure that will appear on the November ballot proposes that Berkeley adopt policies to revitalize the entire downtown area and help make Berkeley one of the greenest cities in the U.S.


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