Lincoln City: Pumping up LC tourism – Logan Park punt – Gift to city could cure High School Drive flooding – 48th Place fix at hand – Deadline extension on VRD comments – Taking another run at old Taft Elementary property – Sprucing up city’s open space trails
A way forward on Lincoln City Tourism
Lincoln City Visitors and Convention Bureau Director Sandy Pfaff gave what might be called a parting set of well studied observations about what Lincoln City should do to boost its tourism to a lucrative new level. Pfaff is retiring next month – and, perhaps with that in mind, she took what may have been her best shot at laying out a plan for whoever succeeds her in directing the city’s tourism promotion efforts.
Pfaff says Lincoln City is a well established “day tripper” town where residents of Portland and Salem come to Lincoln City to getaway for the day, or two, enjoy the beach (even if it’s raining) and partake of the city’s kite festivals, blown glass events and other amusements.
But she laid it on the line, that these attractions are not going to get Lincoln City to where it needs to go.
She said that day tripping visitors drive to Lincoln City, spend “some” money but either return the same day or stay only one night. She said Lincoln City is trapped in a “getaway for a day” place in the minds of visitors from Portland and Salem. What needs to happen, says Pfaff, is for Lincoln City to become a hub “launching pad” for visitors to the Oregon Coast. They should come to Lincoln City and set Lincoln City as their home base – their hub. From there, pamphlets of smart itineraries would direct them to short jaunts north into Tillamook County, short excursions south to Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a quick run down to Florence, ocean excursions off the coast for whale watching and charter fishing leaving ports like Newport and Depoe Bay and on and on. In short, stay in Lincoln City while being directed to a jam-packed four or five days enjoying outlying attractions while coming back to Lincoln City in the evening to enjoy shopping and great restaurants.
Pfaff says such a strategy should work for Portland and Salem visitors. But the “hub” strategy should be more specifically aimed at visitors from Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, California…even Arizona. Pfaff clearly implied that the magic in all of this is assembling a where-to-go-and-how-to-get-there list of places to see and things do outside of Lincoln City – BUT bringing them back to Lincoln City at the end of the day – back to shopping, restaurants and musical or theatrical entertainment.
There was wide city council support for Pfaff’s “hub” strategy and they asked her to formulate those out-of-Lincoln City excursion itineraries before she retires at the end of October. Pfaff said she will produce them before she leaves. “I would feel terribly guilty if I didn’t get that done before I left,” she said.
City Manager David Hawker chimed in adding that the results of several surveys are available on Lincoln City’s website – including in Monday night’s city council meeting packet. It’s interesting reading, he said, if only because the different surveys all come to about the same conclusion. Lincoln City is trapped in a “day tripper” category that will take some creative thinking to break out of.
Punt on Logan Park development
Because a number of key players in the proposed Logan Park housing development planned for Logan Road, just northeast of Chinook Winds, couldn’t attend the city council meeting, the public hearing on it was postponed to a later date. The proposals involves 71 housing units and requires annexation into the city.
A gift to Lincoln City could ameliorate storm water flooding along High School Drive
The city council agreed to accept a gift of one acre of land where 48th, 51st and Schooner Creek Roads come together – or “collide” as City Manager David Hawker put it. Hawker said once the city accepts the gift it can get busy fixing a long-running drainage problem in that area where stormwater backs up into a couple of mobile home parks – right up to some folks’ front porches. The council voted 100% to accept the gift and ordered an elaborate thank-you card be sent to the donors for their generosity.
48th Place fix is at hand!
The council awarded Newport’s Road and Driveway’s bid to finish the repair of the slid-out area of SE 48th Street, damaged during a prolonged downpour back in January of last year. Road and Driveway was awarded the bid (assuming there are no protests to the award) and expects to have the project completed before the worst of the winter rains set in.
VRD WRITTEN comment period extended to Noon on October 13th.
The city council recognized that in this era of instant communications, especially via email, so they decided to depart from the norm when it comes to comment period deadlines. The council decided that those who want to submit written comments to the city council about pending VRD regulations, will be able to do so right up until noon October 13th, the day of the next city council meeting. Although one might argue just about everything under the Sun has been said about the city’s attempt to bring Vacation Rental Dwelling regulations back under control – in order to protect and preserve single family neighborhoods – the council said they’re willing to read more. Not hear more…but read more. The period for public aural testimony has been closed.
A largely poker-faced city council has not indicated if it has made up its mind on how to get a handle on Lincoln City’s burgeoning VRD growth. The city is up against the wall, trying not to harm the VRD industry, which provides a lot of jobs in the community as well as room tax revenue to city hall. But the city is also trying to avoid running afoul of the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Department which has a signed agreement with Lincoln City as to how the city is providing a healthy mix of housing for all residents in Lincoln City. As it is, a huge percentage of single family homes in Lincoln City are VRDs and are therefore not available for normal renting.
A decision on all this is expected this year. Whichever way it goes, many predict that lawsuits will fly, filed by many VRD owners who have come to rely on the income they derive from their VRD properties. However, many Lincoln City residents bemoan what they call the endless problems with VRDs dealing with parking, late night parties and noise as well as garbage and trash issues. Others say it’s hard to have a real neighborhood if all you’re getting is merry-go-round-strangers on the street.
Old Taft Elementary – what’s it highest and LAST use?
Lincoln City City Council went along with a suggestion by City Manager David Hawker that he be allowed to try again to convince the Lincoln County School Board to donate the old Taft Elementary School sports fields to the city. According to Hawker, due to its tsunami zone vulnerabilities and other problems, it makes the property ill-suited for any significant development. Hawker said he’s report back to the council on how it goes.
Lincoln City moving ahead with boosting community and visitor use of the city open space lands
And the city council welcomed one of the newest additions to the city’s workforce – Ian Keene. Keene is an environmental specialist who has been put in charge of re-invigorating the city’s open space program. The city has a lot of open space with Agness Creek and other areas. But city open space trails haven’t been well maintained because of other competing city priorities.
Keene told the council that he’ll be able to revitalize open space use by fixing up the somewhat neglected trail systems among the town’s open space regions. Keene said he will get everything back ship-shape using volunteers. Keene laid out a plan that he says should provide an abundance of volunteer labor. He said those who would like to partake in the city’s renewed commitment to open space can call him at 541-996-1224.
Keene said the city has really valuable open space – it just needs to be cleaned up a bit and promoted vigorously. He said once the town’s established open space trails are brought back up to speed, he’d like to create new trails into the Villages at the north end of town and up to the Knoll overlooking the city.