LG COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON DEVELOPMENT

January 14, 2002 11:00 pm

The La Grande City Council set several goals at a Monday night retreat, but most dealt with continuing efforts already begun.

The council agreed one of its main goals should be to continue to support economic development projects that affect the city, including developing incentives for new business.

It wants to pursue progress on the revitalization of the downtown area, including seeing a new building go in on the vacant, burned-out Bohnenkamp property. The city has received two proposals for developing that site. The deadline for submitting the proposals was Monday, and the planning staff will study them before making a recommendation to the council.

The council wants to establish a process for awarding grants for projects in the historic district downtown.

Another goal was to identify and strengthen the heavy use of parks and ball fields. That could be tied in with a review of functions of city commissions, some councilors felt.

The council wants to continue to pursue studying whether or not to annex the property in the urban growth area, but City Manager Wes Hare said a consultants study probably will not be available before June.

Building a new public library and developing the technology park were also discussed, as was the idea of eliminating the perception that La Grande is a difficult place to do business, in the words of councilor John Bozarth.

Bozarth was referring to making the city planning and ordinance processes more friendly to businesses.

There is no response from Safeway on whether it will sell the old store site for development as a library and a new location for ODS Health Plans, a state Employment Department office and other businesses, Hare said.

From Observer staff reports