A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riverfront contractor gets OK to start

Written February 15th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The Monteith Riverpark stage will be replaced as part of the CARA riverfront project. It looked like this on Feb. 1, 2023.

A contractor now has the green light to construct the Central Albany Revitalization Area’s riverfront project this year.

Acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency (ARA), the city council Wednesday approved  an $8,361,700 contract amendment with K&E Excavating of Salem.

The city chose K&E last August as its “construction manager/general contractor” for the riverfront project.

Wednesday’s action nails down the guaranteed maximum price for rebuilding Monteith Riverpark, including constructing a new stage and a playgroound and splash pad for children, and doing work on the Dave Clark Riverfront Path.

By April, K&E is supposed to develop a similar price guarantee for the rest of the riverfront project. This includes rebuilding the west end of Water Avenue and a parking lot between the two highway bridges.

Both parts of the redeveloment then are to be constructed this summer, with completion scheduled by the end of November.

CARA, the urban renewal district, has budgeted $15 million for the overall project. In addition the city has budgeted $1.2 million from the water fund for a new pipe under Water Avenue, bringing the total budget to $16.2 million.

Wednesday’s ARA action was the first chance for three new council members to vote on the riverfront plan. All three supported it.
The council did not bring up the controversy that ensued when it became known that renovating the park and the riverbank would entail cutting down about 80 trees.

Also Wednesday, economic development manager Seth Sherry told the council that demolition of the former Wells Fargo bank branch downtown was under way with the removal of asbestos from the interior.

The building’s walls should come down starting toward the end of the month.

The former First National Bank’s cornerstone includes a time capsule, according to a newspaper account from 1912, when construction began. The capsule was said to contain various documents and newspapers, and one copper penny.

So far the time capsule has not been found. (hh)

13 responses to “Riverfront contractor gets OK to start”

  1. Rdjourney says:

    Please do not allow a splash pad down at the river front park. All it takes is one distracted parent or older sibling for one child to end up in the river.

    • Dala Rouse says:

      Has anyone ever researched the pros and cons of Splash Pads? They recycle the same water over and over no matter whats gets in it. And about how many accidents have happened with Splash Pads?
      Considering how many trees they are cutting actually in the park don’t expect much in the way of shade.

  2. CHEZZ says:

    Cha Cha Cha Changes! David Bowie, of course!

  3. Anony Mouse says:

    Aren’t public improvements like this supposed to be financed with voter-approved General Obligation bonds?

  4. MarK says:

    Exactly what do they expect as far as ROI?
    All that money would be better spent on our street repairs.

    • Anony Mouse says:

      Excellent question.

      CARA is using Tax Increment Financing to pay for this project.

      This method of financing is based on the expectation that the project will generate an increase in tax revenue over that already generated by the existing use.

      So back to your excellent question: How much is the increment? How long will it take to payback the $16.2M?

      Does anybody in the city have the answers? Does anybody in Albany care?

      • Steven Reynolds says:

        It’s a wide interpretation. The original CARA intent was to fix up blight and then collect the difference in value of the blighted property’s assessed value (AV) calculation v. that same property now improved (financed by CARA). Improvement value added along with the constant AV, allows an increase in the the value (Improvements + AV) that the tax, bonds, and levies are calculated against. That increased amount above the maximum AV is where the TIF money comes from.

        Courts loosened up the interpretation of what constitutes TIF, intangible v. tangible, indirect v. direct, the big question is will Parks and Rec. be able to generate increased revenue with these new facilities and create a TIF type scenario outside of Oregon Property Tax laws? With the number of events Parks and Rec. administers and the facilities they control, they’re going to be a major financial player in the local economy.

  5. Hartman says:

    If the Council did not bring up the controversy surrounding imminent destruction of 80 trees, would it be safe to say there really is NO controversy?

  6. Mike Patrick says:

    Here we go, all the experts and Karen’s are ready to pounce!
    Let’s do something nice in Albany, we need it!

  7. DudeSixty says:

    As long as Bald

  8. michelle tatum says:

    Just don’t take away the Historical natural look. Don’t modernize it to take away downtown feel. The housingis already ruining things. And let’s work on longest lived park in albany,Timberlinn. That area is much better for events

  9. lisa says:

    Of course the AHs didnt bring up cutting down all those trees. Will make sure to vote accordingly and hope karma comes back on them as well, hard!


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