Lincoln City City Manager David Hawker put out the word to all Lincoln City residents and business owners that a Google Earth mapping car, with it’s odd looking camera apparatus in the air, is coming back to Lincoln City next month. So, in so far as Google doesn’t come through much more often than every seven years to take pictures of the major streets of the town, it behooves everybody to put on their best “look” for homes and businesses. Hawker says the pictures won’t start showing up on Google Earth until sometime this summer. The last visual update of Lincoln City was made in 2007, almost 7 years ago and a lot has changed since then.
Hawker also reported to the city council that the city has already put a vehicle counting device at the north end of town to tabulate vehicle numbers throughout various times of the year – mainly tourist season. And ODOT says they’re coming through with a counter of their own that the city can use to count vehicles coming into Lincoln City from the south…placed somewhere around Drift Creek Bridge. Hawker says the data that these two counters will bring to the planning table for tourism promotions and determining their effectiveness will be very, very informative and extremely valuable. He said the city will soon be more intelligently pursuing the ever-challenging goal of maximizing the effectiveness of room tax dollar-based promotions and events aimed at bringing more visitors to Lincoln City.
Hawker also mentioned a little glitch down at the Community Center Swimming Pool. He said they’re getting complaints that the swimming pool water is a little cooler than what many consider “optimal” – 82 to 83 degrees. It seems the pool’s brand new boiler, with all its computer controlled machinery aimed at keeping pool waters in the low 80s, has, on occasion, let the water drop down into the upper 70s. And pool patrons say they can feel the difference. They say they want it 82 all the time! Hawker says they’re bringing in a consultant who understands the complexity of the new boiler and attempt to keep water temperatures on the straight and narrow.
And speaking of the Community Center, Hawker and the council heard a complaint Monday evening that the senior center group is complaining that seniors have been getting the short end of the ruler when it comes to operating space at the Community Center. A spokesman for the group said the voters in the late 80’s who approved the community center said they wanted a healthy component of senior services at as part of the funding package for the center. Hawker responded that the original vote was many, many years ago and a lot has changed, including the city’s struggles to keep the community center open with the least amount of subsidy from its cash-strapped general fund. Hawker said he believes that the senior component of the community center has actually more room than they’ve had in the past. But he quickly added that he would look into the matter and get back to the council with a formal report. He said it’s really impossible to efficiently manage the community center around one group as opposed to another. Hawker says it’s a real change to managing the entire facility with an eye to maximizing community engagement while also optimizing revenues.
On a final note, Hawker told the council that a delegation from the city will be in Salem next week to sit down with the state Department of Environmental Quality and State Lands to get a plan together to hook up most houses around Devils Lake to community sewer – no more septics. Old leaky septic systems are blamed for algae blooms and other water pollution problems with the lake. Hawker said there may be a deadline established for residents around Devils Lake to hook into the city’s sewer system that would remove sewage and treat it as any other collected around the city. Over time it’s hoped that the polluted groundwater around the lake would eventually be flushed out allowing Devils Lake to recover naturally. Hawker also told the council that he will press hard on DEQ and other agencies to help the city and residents of Devils Lake to qualify for grants to help defray the high cost of a sewer collection system. Hawker said although it’s uncommon for cities the size of Lincoln City to get such state assistance, it might qualify if the issue is presented in a way that clearly reflects the deteriorated condition of Devils Lake. It is spawning habitat for endangered species and a major recreational asset to the region.