Business district sees improvements

By Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer January 06, 2011 10:36 am
PHIL BULLOCK
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The City of La Grande and the La Grande Main Street program joined together this past fall to add more improvements to the city’s downtown business district.

According to reports from Charlie Mitchell, the city’s community and economic development director, installation of 14 new trash receptacles heads the list.

The new cans, of a style selected by the Main Street Design Committee, were produced locally by Barreto Manufacturing. They are larger than the receptacles they replaced, and feature a lockable side-open door for service access.

“The new cans are designed to complement the new bicycle racks and future amenities, such as benches, street lights and planters,” Mitchell said.

The project was funded by the city’s urban renewal district as part of the Main Street Program. Mitchell said the old trash cans were donated to Union County for use at the county fairgrounds.

Also in November, the last of seven new street trees were planted downtown, with Urban Renewal funding.

Five of the trees were installed adjacent to the Maridell Center on Washington Avenue.  One was installed in front of the Foley Building on Adams Avenue, and another in front of the Oddfellows Building, also on Adams.

Mitchell said a number of facade improvement projects have moved forward in recent months. For one thing, the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum has gotten a facelift.

“Though not one hundred percent complete, the major part of the transformation, exterior repairs and new paint, is done,” Mitchell said.

Since July of last year, five projects funded in part by Urban Renewal’s Building Facade Grant Program have been completed.

The improvement projects include the Melville Building at 1429 Adams, the Phoenix Building at 1207 Adams, the New Town Square building at the corner of Fourth Street and Washington Avenue, the West Jacobson building at 1302 Adams and the Maridell Center.

The Melville Building, owned by Susie Hughes,  received new awnings and signs, while the Phoenix Building, owned by John Howard, received an entire new storefront.

Al Adelsberger’s New Town Square Building received new trim, paint and signs. The West-Jacobson Building owned by Jennifer Williams received new paint, as did Jeri Mackley’s Maridell Center.

The Facade Grant Program matches buildings’ owners dollar for dollar up to 50 percent of the project cost, up to $7,500.

Four other facade improvement projects have been approved or are in progress.

 They include replacement of second floor windows at the Phoenix Building and a new awning at Shawn Mangum’s Western Union Building at 11117 Adams Ave.

The Sommer Block Building at 1119 Adams was approved to replace second floor windows, and the Sommer Hotel Building was approved for new awnings.