URA to fund $100K for business

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer June 20, 2014 11:28 am

Agency criticized before passing 2014-15 budget

As urban renewal projects from the last fiscal year come to fruition, the La Grande Urban Renewal Agency wants to see yet another project happen with the help of urban renewal dollars.

The agency on Wednesday voted to approve $80,000 in funding for Brickyard Lanes, a bowling alley set to be established in downtown La Grande in the old Eagles building. The funding approval also allows for up to $20,000 in funding for public right-of-way improvements. 

The URA earlier this spring had approved funding for several other projects but delayed a decision for the bowling alley after indicating they were interested in funding the project at more than the capped amount of $75,000. The program allows consideration for funding in excess of the cap on a case-by-case basis.

Brickyard Lanes, 1212 Jefferson Ave., will come to fruition after work is done on the building, proprietor Gary Kiesecker has said. The 12-lane project is slated to cost a total of $855,000.

Also at the meeting, the URA adopted a $4.9 million budget for the next fiscal year, drawing the ire of resident Steve Joseph.

During the public testimony portion of the budget hearing, Joseph sharply criticized the URA with a demonstration. Using an image he has alluded to in several other instances, Joseph put on a Santa Claus hat and tossed money in the air.