Community Plaza construction outlined in urban renewal spending plan

Universal Plaza
Phase one of Universal Plaza, slated for construction in early 2022, will include an interactive water feature, porch swings, restrooms, a concession stand, lighting, and a Fanno Creek entry art piece. Phase two construction, not currently scheduled, will add an overhead canopy providing shelter from the rain and sun, a community room and built-in seating alongside the water feature and throughout the lawn. Courtesy/City of Tigard

The Tigard City Council last month authorized the borrowing of $9.45 million dollars that will be directed toward urban renewal projects in both the Tigard Triangle and City Center urban renewal districts. 

The money is set to be spent over the next three to four years and will go toward a variety of projects including parks property acquisition, street and trail design, public utility work, bicycle and pedestrian amenities and the construction of Universal Plaza in downtown Tigard. The last is anticipated to provide a gleaming new public facility in the middle of the city that will bring a community gathering and event space. 

“The first phase (of the Universal Plaza project) will be under construction as early as April of next year,” said city redevelopment project manager Sean Farrelly. “There will be a water feature, restrooms, a concession stand, lawn and hardscape and swings, as well as lighting and seating. And phase two would be a larger sheltered area along with a community room.” 

Roughly $8.35 million will be dedicated to the Tigard Triangle district and another $1.1 million to the City Center district. 

City councilors expressed excitement about the upcoming work on Universal Plaza, which first opened to the public just before Christmas 2020 with the introduction of several pieces of public art. That artwork remains in place, including a series of movable wooden boxes for seating that can be shifted around as park visitors see fit. 

Councilor John Goodhouse noted that with a good chunk of money going to design and build biking and walking trails, it might be a good idea to use some of the funding for trail lighting. 

“We have heard a lot from residents and businesses lately about lighting on the trails,” Goodhouse said. “As liaison to the TCDA (Town Center Development Agency, Tigard’s urban renewal agency) we’ve talked about this for years and how we want Tigard to be the most walkable city in America. Is there a plan for lighting on the trails?” 

Farrelly said he would like to see that placed in the next TCDA budget. 

“It certainly makes sense for the stretch downtown of the Fanno Creek Trail,” he said.