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Latest KURB project will be the last for a while

By JASON COX

Of the Keizertimes

New sidewalks and a parking lot reconfiguration for Town and Country Lanes garnered a funding recommendation from the Keizer Urban Renewal Board. [MAP: 1]

However, the board stopped short of fully funding what it deemed to be improvements to the building’s façade. Typically the program has only funded 100 percent of changes made within the city’s right-of-way near River Road. Instead the board recommended funding 50 percent of these additions.

The proposal calls for, among other items, installing a meandering sidewalk and a small outdoor sitting area for customers of either the Herb Garden Café or Java Crew, the small drive-through coffee shop in the bowling alley’s parking lot. It would also redesign the facility’s parking lot, provide a raingarden for stormwater mitigation and a small footbridge along the River Road pedestrian corridor.

“These improvements can help but improve the look of south Keizer as you’re coming in,” said Mardi Smith, promotions director for Town and Country Lanes.

Board members also learned the project would likely be the last they’ll fund in this fiscal year, as they were informed a land purchase approved Monday by the Keizer Urban Renewal Agency used up the remaining River Road Renaissance (RRR) funding for the year.

Community Development Director Nate Brown said this expenditure would be the last they’d be able to make until property tax revenues start coming in November. The agency voted to spend $470,000 of RRR money on land at Keizer Station (see related story), but City Manager Chris Eppley and Finance Director Susan Gahlsdorf both said they expected the RRR fund to be reimbursed once a whole land sale is made at Keizer Station.

Low bid on the project was about $113,964; however, revisions to the cost thanks to removing additions like landscaping, some paving and flower boxes on the front of the building weren’t immediately available.

Councilor Brandon Smith questioned whether the board should be funding façade-like improvements, saying it typically hasn’t done so in the past. Smith, who also is on the Keizer Urban Renewal Agency, is the board liaison.

“It’s not a façade; yes it enhances the project and it draws it all together, but it’s not keeping with, in my estimate … within our right-of-way area,” said Board Chair Greg McLeod.

Brown said there was some precedent in the Keizer Village project for funding landscaping within private property. He said RRR dollars paid 50 percent of that cost.

Laura Marshall, manager at Town and Country Lanes, said she was happy with getting just the right-of-way improvements, but was concerned that the project may look incomplete without the full treatment.

“As far as we are right now we don’t have the funds to make it look like it’s presented here,” Marshall said. “It’s up to the board to decide how this is going to end up unless we can get a 50 percent facade grant from Marion County and have it matched by you.”