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» Riverfront design contract up for CARA action

HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riverfront design contract up for CARA action

Written October 15th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

This boardwalk, part of Albany’s Dave Clark Path, was built to skirt a restaurant that perched on the Willamette riverbank below the Ellsworth Street Bridge. The restaurant burned down years ago, but the path still winds around where it sat.

The little boardwalk is just one feature of the riverfront, a landscape that will likely see big changes as the city goes ahead with a multimillion-dollar urban renewal initiative. The idea is to redevelop the area along Water Avenue from Washington Street in the west to Main Street in the east.

The CARA advisory board and the city council, acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency or ARA, on Wednesday will be asked to approve a $2.36 million contract with Walker Macy, a Portland firm.

“This contract will formally begin what is expected to be a year long process of design, community input and engineering that will result in buildable plans, a funding strategy, required permits and the realization of a long-standing community vision,” economic development manager Seth Sherry said in a memo to the advisory board.

The money would come from ARA’s capital projects reserve, which has $4.34 million in the 2019-21 biennium.

The CARA board meets at 5:15 Wednesday in the council chambers at City Hall. The council/ARA meets when the advisory board is done, to act on whatever the board recommends.

The agenda includes letters of support for the riverfront initiative from the Albany Chamber of Commerce, the Albany-Millersburg Economic Development Corp., and the Albany Visitors Association.

The price tag of whatever public improvements result from the design and planning process is undetermined and depends, obiously, on the details of future decisions. CARA has talked in terms of $20 million, in that neighborhood. The ARA would borrow the money and pay it off from property taxes on the value increase of the downtown urban renewal district since it was formed in 2001.

The riverfront initiative is intended to be CARA’s last major project. When it’s paid off, CARA is done. (hh)



13 responses to “Riverfront design contract up for CARA action”

  1. Terry Fuston says:

    I’ve lived here all of my life and I do not recall a restaurant being there.

  2. Mac says:

    Hopefully it doesn’t end up like the useless “riverfront” path in Corvallis, all you can see is the overgrown weeds, I mean trees. Want it to look good take a clue from Bends old mill area.

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    “When its paid off CARA is done.”

    CARA’s life span is not determined in terms of time or specific project. According to the URD Plan, CARA lives on until the $56,000,000 of MAXIMUM indebtedness is reached. So the real question is:

    How much of the $56,000,000 maximum debt has CARA consumed?

    I seriously doubt CARA will “be done” until every penny of the $56,000,000 is hung around the taxpayer’s neck.

    Second, CARA’s priorities are communicated in the budgeting process. One of CARA’s stated projects is, “Bring city streets into current public standards throughout the URD.”

    Does the council really think spending on shiny things along the river is a higher priority than fixing Albany’s third-world streets? If so, the council is seriously tone deaf when it comes to listening to their constituents.

    At one point in the past you editorialized that the council had a credibility problem given CARA’s irrational spending behavior.

    Perhaps it’s time for another one of your screeds on this topic.

  4. Jim Engel says:

    A little history on that restaurant. When it had the fire & pretty much destroyed it the liquor was left as is on the shelf so the insurance co. investigators could asses the damage. Trouble was a small group of homeless realized this & had a hell of a party until we shut them down!! It was an interesting night on patrol that shift.

    Now to the topic of riverfront. Corvallis has done nothing so to speak with their shore line. No stairs to a non-existent beach. Just a slope. So why so much $$ for a study in Albany?. We had a pleasant pier system just off the Senior Center years ago but it’s been filled in by changes in river flow. As shown by the gravel bar at the boat ramp on the north side of the river “Ma Nature” may well have her say later with some expensive plan done on her bottom side!

  5. George Kurtz says:

    I am old enough to think that 2.36 million is a lot of money. It seems as though we should actually get something tangible for that amount rather than a plan that may or may not be ever implemented.

  6. russell tripp says:

    Over2 millon for a plan that may never be utilized is ridiculous.

  7. thomas cordier says:

    Can’t fix stupid when spending taxpayer monies

 

 
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