Lincoln City City Councilors gave their blessing to launch the next chapter in improving the city’s open space area called Agnes Creek. After last year’s much celebrated thinning that opened up the forest to more sunlight, more room for the remaining trees to grow, more trails for residents and visitors to use and some cash in the city’s piggy bank, the same company that pulled it off successfully was given the green light to do it again in similarly overcrowded tree stands north of Bard Road.
Trout Mountain Forestry, and the brains behind it, forestry management consultant Mark Miller, told the council that he expects the same benefits from a thinning operation planned in the near future that will once again open up the tree canopy to let in more growth-inducing light, reduce competition between trees, accelerate their growth and provide a more pleasant recreation environment for locals and tourists alike. The remaining trees will become stronger with more stamina to survive high winds from storms that come ashore in the winter. As they did last year, Miller says his crews will sell the timber to a local mill or other wood processors, with some of the profits going to the city. Miller says his crews will then plant a wider variety of tree species to enhance bio-diversity for wildlife and general forest health.
For this second installment of Agnes Creek Open Space thinning, Trout Mountain will begin logging north to about SW 19th Street. The thinning will extend only about 500 feet north of Bard Road on the west side, according to Miller.
What little public comment there was on the proposal indicated substantial support for it. City Manager David Hawker told the council that staff will bring back all the paperwork necessary to authorize the project at the city council’s next meeting in early April.
The council’s attention was then diverted to another kind of growing things – children – especially children and their parents who like sports – soccer and baseball to be exact. Up for discussion was a grant application the city is filing with the State Department of Parks and Recreation in an effort to buy the old Taft Elementary School on SE 51st. The school district is anxious to sell it since it will never re-open as a school, it’s namesake already opened and accommodating students and teachers alike at a new facility funded by the 2011 school bond.
Several townspeople came up to the microphone to give their support to the city’s grant application saying that like city staff, they too would like to see the old Taft Elementary site converted to sports fields. They said Lincoln City has nowhere nearly enough sports play area which is painfully obvious when regional sports teams come to Lincoln City for sports tournaments. Due to the lack of playing fields, those tournaments spill over into a second day, forcing kids to finish up their tournaments early Sunday mornings.
With that, the council heartily endorsed the Community Development Department’s grant writing application to the state. Staff told the council that the city should find out in July if the city got the money. If successful, the money should arrive in the fall and the planning and everything that goes with it will kick into high gear.