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Post office could get makeover as city continues its downtown plans

Thursday, February 28, 2019

City leaders continue to work on projects to improve downtown Warrenton, including an idea to give the post office a makeover.

Some of the work is being facilitated by the Warrenton Urban Renewal Agency and some by a grassroots city-sponsored group working with members of Rural Development Initiatives, a nonprofit agency that gave the city a revitalization grant that included staff members to help start plans.

The post office is one of the most noticeable relics of downtown.

The city offered a façade improvement grant to Bernie Bjork, owner of the building leased to the U.S. Postal Service.

“He’s been a really good property owner there,” said Planning Commissioner Christine Bridgens, who is working with Bjork on the project. He declined to speak directly to a reporter.

“He won’t accept the grant and said he’d rather do the work himself,” she said. “But he wants to cooperate with what we want to do in terms of the beautification needs of the city.”

There will be additional landscaping, some safety improvements -- such as adding a walkway in front of the parking area -- and the building will be painted to complement the colors of City Hall.

A new lease with the federal government extends the post office’s presence there for another five years, Bridgens said.

The grassy area at the corner, which is owned by the city, is slated for a park plaza that includes the veterans memorial. A landscape architect is working on plans for benches, brickwork, shrubs and small trees that would make it a small community gathering place.

The brown building across the street and behind Warrenton Mini Mart could house a food court, Bridgens said, although those plans still are far in the future. The building’s owner is open to working with commercial ventures.

The city’s 875-acre urban renewal district covers all of downtown, parts of Harbor Drive and some outlying areas. It was established in 2007 to revitalize the business district and, although it’s a separate entity, is managed by the city commissioners who act as the Warrenton Urban Renewal Agency.

Recently, the group expanded its façade improvement program so that owners within the district can apply for grants to improve their properties. The agency will match up to $10,000 for qualifying projects in hopes of spurring new interest in the program. Previously, the grants would match only $5,000.

Other development projects in the works:

** Plans were approved for a 104-foot Verizon Wireless tower at Warrenton High School. The tower, which includes a concrete pad and ground equipment within a fenced area, is adjacent to the football field at the back of the campus.

There are no residences within 400 feet of the macrocell facility. The tower will fill a significant gap in coverage for Verizon’s customers in Warrenton, the company said. Construction is expected in the summer.

** A hearing is set for March 14 on Clear Lake, a 15-lot subdivision that will extend Kalmia Avenue north toward the small Clear Lake and property owned by the North Coast Land Conservancy.

The detached family homes are proposed by Gil Gramson’s Sandridge Construction.

** Wayne DeWilde of Shamrock Yachats LLC has submitted an application to the city’s building department to expand a mini-storage facility with 60 revitalized shipping containers.

The project at 2385 S.E. Dolphin Ave. is in an area with other industrial businesses and a derelict house on the property would be demolished.

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