On Friday, the Auburn University Board of Trustees gave the latest go-ahead to the redevelopment of Toomer’s Corner. But AU technically only has total say on just one quarter of the Corner of your mind.
The new look of Toomer’s 2.0 will also heavily depend on decisions made by the City of Auburn, who as the university did when imagining the post-poison future of its slice of Toomey’s Square, has been holding public meetings seeking input for the Auburn Downtown Master Plan.
The third such public meeting will be held Tuesday at the Harris Senior Center on Opelika Road, and the main topic of conversation will likely once again be the new look of Toomer’s Corner.
“Of course Toomer’s Corner is one of the elements (of the Downtown Master Plan),” says Kevin Cowper, Auburn’s Assistant City Manager. “I think the consultant will be showing a couple of concepts for the corner. They went through a process where they showed about four different concepts with varying levels of improvements there and got some feedback from the public about it. They will be showing the concept they’re going to recommend (to the city).”
Cowper said implementation of whatever design is ultimate approved would likely begin in the summer of 2015.
“My take would be that Toomer’s Corner would be a high priority project that we would want to tackle sooner rather than later.”
Elements included in the proposed renovations include an elevated intersection and additional seating, and more pedestrian traffic, all of which Cowper believes will help “keep that as an area to celebrate after football victories. Our intent is to keep that tradition at Toomer’s Corner.”
This past season, despite the Toomer’s Triangle built specifically as a stop gap for Toomer’s rollings, the toilet paper from victory celebrations spread even further into Auburn’s campus, specifically Samford Lawn.
The university noticed.
“It creates a lot of mess to clean up,” says Dan King, assistant vice president for facilities at Auburn University. “We like to have less mess to clean up. I don’t know exactly the best way to stop 30,000 people from doing that, but the city has a master plan for the downtown of the corner to bring it [rollings] back more to the actual intersection.”
King actually hopes the trees that will eventually replace the the
Toomer’s Auburn Oaks (which will also be called the Auburn Oaks, at least officially) won’t factor into the evolution of celebrations at the corner.
“I don’t know if we want to have that (people rolling Samford Lawn) every year, but I don’t think the new trees are the answer.”
But King thinks one of the ideas being developed in the city’s public forums might be, specifically “two arches, one on Magnolia and one College, I think.”
Yes, arches (“like the ones they have at Purdue”) have been quietly sitting on the drawing board as a renovation idea since one of of AU’s early Toomer’s Corner Landscape Enhancements & Concept Development Workshops in 2012.
Cowper confirmed that whether or not arches at the corner will be intended to be rolled, that they remain a very real possibility.
“It’s something we will continue to talk about,” Cowper says. “In our conversations with the University, they would like us to continue to have some kind of wire structure at the intersection that people can fairly easily roll. One of the things included in the design are some archways that would cross College Street and kind of define the entrance into Toomer’s Corner.”
“I don’t know if people would be will to roll that or not, or if it would even be possible for folks to roll.”
Regardless, Attractive Intersection Structure, there’s hope for you yet.
You can see the designs for the new Toomer’s Corner the consultant’s on the City of Auburn’s Downtown Master Plan will propose at Tuesday’s public meeting here.
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