|The latest cost estimates on four alternatives |
By this time, however, you'd think
the City would have talked more about them
Hopefully Salem Community Vision will publish more of their analysis, which has been regrettably thin and cocktail-napkinish. At the same time, however, it has shown a remarkable resilience in the face of the City's refusal to engage it directly. You'd think that if the City was certain or really enjoyed a preponderance of evidence, they would be able to dismantle quickly the competing SCV critique.
But they haven't!
In the Staff Report is stuff like, "The City's first priority is providing public safety to all areas of Salem and locating away from the geographic center of Salem would reduce effectiveness and operational efficiencies." Well, maybe that's true about the center, but by this point in the debate, the City should have articulated a more robust argument for a central location. It remains just talk, an unproven assertion. Moreover, the O'Brien parcel, the first alternative in the clip above, is totally centrally located, no farther from downtown proper than is the Civic Center. So why is that site so bad in light of the SCV critique? The City's arguments are looking weaker and weaker - even if the SCV arguments have on their own gained no additional strength.
Still, if there's a way to save $10 or $20 million, that's 167 or 333 additional pedestrian medians (@ $60,000 each) we could install or a handful of our smaller bridges to seismically retrofit!
So head on over to SCV for more. I'm sure there will be a good bit of talk over the weekend. (For skepticism about the SCV proposal, see all notes here.)
Yes, too Late to Improve the Nursing Home
|Proposed Marquis Care Facility on Boise Site|
After further review and analysis of the process and requirements to undertake a Project Bond, the City of Salem (Purchaser) has determined that other forms of urban renewal tax incentive financing, including a development agreement and conditional grant of project generated tax increment funds, are more efficient and less cumbersome methods of providing development incentives for Seller's North Block property. An amendment to the Purchase and Sale Agreement will be presented to the City Council on April 14, 2014. The RDURA Plan amendment is following the premise of a Project Grant....Two neighborhood associations, Grant and CAN-DO supported the grant, and the Downtown Advisory Board also supported it unanimously.
The estimated market value of the Development is $4.5M and the Project Grant estimate is up to $750,000. In addition to the Development, 175 residential units are proposed on the South Block and a 40,000 square foot office building is proposed directly east of the Development.
(Two interested parties recused themselves from the DAB vote. It seems relevant that the site of the meeting was the offices of the architect team for the project, CB|Two, and CB|Two's Principal was presumably one of those who recused themselves. On the one hand it might have been useful to be able to show building renderings and plans to the Board. On the other, it might be more difficult to vote "no" in the offices of the architect team, and the City should probably hold votes like this at a more neutral site!)
In any case, if the grant is for both the nursing home and the four-story office building, this doesn't seem like a subsidy out of line with the merits of the project. And it seems pretty clear this is a done deal and there is no opportunity for a better occupant than the nursing home.
Additionally, as a related item on the agenda, there is a vacation for the old right-of-way with an at-grade RR crossing that was created when it seemed that State Street would need to be closed to auto traffic. I think this is of purely procedural interest at this point.
Travel Salem Misses on Walking and Biking
|Even the Gresham Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center|
sees the value of bikes!
While it highlights things like "Research[ing] creative niches (e.g. chess tournaments, robotics, tattoo) as well as primary feeder markets," it is silent on walking and biking! In fact, text searches for a variety of walking and biking words suggests the whole family is absent in the document! (Do you know otherwise? Have you found a walk/bike word?)
|The Bridge as Ornamental Emptiness on the Riverfront|
If the Union St RR Bridge is a tourist attraction big enough to feature in the report, maybe folks should be talking about why and who are its users! And what about the prospect of a bike park in Wallace?
|Proposed bike park in Wallace (proposed Marine Dr in blue)|
Adoption of the rest of the Unified Development Code. This is certainly interesting, but far too big to comment on here. (Anyone followed it in depth?)
McKay Park Master Plan. (Some previous notes here.)
Adoption of the Morningside Neighborhood Plan. (Some notes here.)