Officials disagreed on whether a project aimed at improving traffic flows would really benefit the area.
Councilwoman Mary Fischer said that in her years on council, the city has played far too many times with improvement ideas.
"Won't this just be a rehash of things we've already done?" she asked.
Councilman Jason Sandel asked why the study could not be done internally by city employees.
"By policy, we have traffic design contracted out," said City Manager Rob Mayes. "We don't have enough work to justify having a (staff traffic engineer)."
Sandel said that the use of contractors concerned him.
"My concern is that, it's all about the flow of traffic and hurry, hurry, hurry," he said.
Each time the city has had a traffic study done, the consulting engineer has recommended that the city find a way to speed up the flow of traffic, he said.
When asked for project specifics, Mary Holton, Community Development Department director, did not have the answer some councilmembers were hoping for.
"The scope of the project has not yet been decided," she said.
The $25,000 in funding comes from a $500,000 city council allocation to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Area fund made last year.
The plan for the area, adopted in 2006, has not lived up to its promise, Sandel said.
"I'm disappointed with the lack of progress," he said in a Wednesday phone interview. "This is something that has now been studied and looked at officially for six years, and for decades before that. I remember my mom fighting for Downtown in the (1980s)."
The so-called "MRA Plan," he said, calls for bold action.
"Thus far, we as a council haven't committed to that," Sandel said. "We keep on doing small grant projects ... That philosophy goes against what the MRA Plan calls for."
Sandel said he has been advocating for bold action during his time as a councilman, namely by proposing a new convention center.
"I'm disappointed that staff has moved away from that idea," he said. "At the end of the day, it's really about a strong and bold commitment that needs to be made. That's what the community is starving for."
Instead, the public hears about drunks, vacant buildings, blight and the other negative sides of Downtown, Sandel said.
"In order to combat that history, it's imperative for city council to take bold action," he said.
Rather than a small scale study of Main Street, and adjacent areas if there is sufficient funding, Sandel hopes that city staff will work with the yet-to-be-chosen engineering contractor and put together a larger study of the areas of Downtown along Main Street and Broadway Avenue.
"If we're going to be spending $20,000 on a plan, I'm hopeful that's what they're going to do," he said.
Mayor Tommy Roberts could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Greg Yee may be reached at email@example.com; 564-4606. Follow him on Twitter @GYeeDT