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The Columbia Press

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City could put up a parking lot to increase business traffic

By Cindy Yingst, Thursday, March 14, 2019

The top downtown projects that should be completed using special tax money include placing power lines underground, building a parking lot, and renovating the public pier at Warrenton Marina.

Those were the top three choices selected Wednesday afternoon by members of the Warrenton Urban Renewal Advisory Committee.

The seven-member panel advises the city’s Urban Renewal Agency, which currently is made up of the five city commissioners.

The agency is tasked with spending money raised within the boundaries of the urban renewal district – primarily downtown Warrenton -- on projects deemed most likely to revitalize downtown.

The agency was responsible for the major overhaul of Warrenton Marina during the past decade. And several additional urban renewal projects are in the works, including a plaza-like park with landscaping at all four corners of the four-way stop and a façade improvement grant program.

The request from city officials to prioritize the next set of projects will help determine what will be accomplished in the next three years.

The undergrounding of utilities along South Main Avenue “is a carrot to try to find a partner,” Community Development Director Kevin Cronin told committee members.

The street falls under the jurisdiction of Oregon Department of Transportation, so improvements made by the city there are complicated.

State and city officials are at loggerheads because, while Warrenton would like ownership of its main street, the road needs to be repaved and sidewalks brought up to current codes, including disabled ramps at intersections.

The list of projects eyed for urban renewal money, and their order of priority by the committee: ** Rebuilding the deteriorating public pier at Warrenton Marina, estimated at $1 million, part of which could be funded with a grant.

“Personally, I feel we put all that money into the commercial docks and we could be without the pier in one year,” City Manager Linda Engbretson said.

** Turning the gravel lot next to the fire station into paved parking available for downtown businesses, $100,000.

** Placing utilities underground along Main Avenue from Harbor Drive to Second Street, $1 million.

** Extending the sewer service south of Warrenton High School, $150,000.

** Additional sidewalks and lights at various locations, including Main Avenue from Ninth Street to the high school, $500,000.

** Development of an assistance grant or loan program to help property owners rehabilitate businesses downtown.

** Improving the city’s main entryways, including adding sidewalks and lights on Harbor Drive, $75,000.

** Establishing a housing rehabilitation low-interest loan program, $100,000.

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