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The Columbia Press

Columnists & Other Opinions

Mayor's Message: Improvements will add to life as we enter post-COVID normal

Mayor Henry Balensifer
By Henry Balensifer III, Thursday, June 3, 2021

Summer is coming and people are understandably anxious to get back to whatever sense of normalcy can be allowed.

Clatsop County, as I write this, is 60 percent vaccinated. We’re on the home stretch.

While slow at some points and faster at others, your city is moving to improve the city to ensure we’re well poised to move out of this pandemic.

The Warrenton Urban Renewal Agency is moving forward to engineer and underground power lines downtown, as well as improve drainage and sidewalks.

We have a fighting chance that our Congressional delegation can get us federal funding to finish a sidewalk all the way to the high school connecting downtown to the Morrison District (where the high school is). These livability improvements don’t just make Warrenton a safer, more enjoyable place to live — they improve the attraction to businesses as well.

The Urban Renewal Agency also is moving forward with building up the foodcart pod near City Hall.

All-in-all, Warrenton remains a city of opportunity, while improving itself with the primary goal of improvement for Warrentonians — not tourists. Obviously, we will share our town with them and welcome them to patronize our area. But we’re not gearing our improvements nor our town to service tourists. It must service residents first.

Take business out of it, we have two notable investments in parks in the west side of our city. The Carruthers Dog Park is getting a new river viewpoint pavilion, as well as expanded parking. The park in Officers Row (inside the Fort Stevens neighborhood) is getting improvements to the playground and a new beach volleyball court.

For our east side, the Forest Rim neighborhood will receive its first park (our only park east of Highway 101) this year. It’s only in phase 1, but as time and funds build up, we hope to add more amenities to this large but underserved part of our town.

As we move forward toward normalcy, many of us are anxious to get back to normal. I’ll admit, I am.

I do not wish to debate, nor even change your mind about, your views of the COVID situation. As your mayor, I just ask this: Please do not take your vexation and frustration out on the retail associates, food servers, and essential workers of our city.

They’re just trying to make a living — and I’ve heard from many of them — they don’t like the situation any more than you. Most of them answer to some faceless corporate entity not based in our city, or an owner who is desperately holding things together.

A little kindness goes a long way.

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