South Beach update, new restaurant at old Savory in Nye Beach, downtown parking plan gets a review, the city buys a video, Carla Perry is now a visionary, and pullin’ weeds ‘stead o’ sprayin’
The Newport City Council pushed the urban renewal ball a little farther down the road toward progress Monday night by finalizing some leases with commercial renters in a triangle piece of property bounded by Highway 101, SE 35th and Ferry Slip. The city has agreed to extend the leases of several tenants in the area until such time the city needs them to move out so a new grocery store, restaurant or other tourist related business can move in there. All this, of course, will play out over the next three years.
There will also be other improvements starting in the Abalone Street area of Coho-Brant, as well as making Safe Haven Hill ready for a lot of refugees that will climb its pathway to the top to get folks out of the way of the tsunami that will come within 15 minutes of the end of the ground shaking from a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Again, lots of work to be going on in the area to prepare the hill for what is expected to be upwards of of several thousand people huddled at the top for many hours as the pulse and rush of several tsunamis are possible.
The council also was in a welcoming mood as they recommended to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that they award the owners of a new restaurant in Nye Beach a liquor license. It’s a new upward-focused Italian restaurant that is moving in where Mike Bower’s old Savory Cafe once did such a great business – great community boosters, he and his wife. Mike passed away recently, leaving a huge hole on the street, in the business world and in the hearts of many who knew and loved him.
But new owner Justin Wills, who runs his new “Restaurant Beck” at Whale Cove Inn, is renovating the old Savory and will be offering northern Italian cuisine the likes never seen in the area – especially at such a reasonable price point. A little insider secret: Councilor Dean Sawyer’s son is a part of the Restaurant Beck and Sorella additions to the coast – a recent gourmet chef graduate from an esteemed institution in Portland. Proud father. Who wouldn’t be.
The council gave staff the go-ahead to begin planning more parking for the Nye Beach, Downtown Newport and Bayfront areas of town. They’re dropping the old “pay in lieu” approach to creating more parking because the fees paid by businesses weren’t raising enough money to amount to much new parking. So the city is looking closely at maximizing its assets in the area to see what might be worked out, long term. The parking study is expected to spill well into 2016.
A Portland stand-out video production company was awarded an $85,000 contract by the city to produce tourist related videos to pump up visitation to the Newport area. The Uncage the Soul video production company was portrayed to the council as a high end, high tech video production company that has produced spectacular results for tourism promotion in the Portland area. They plan to use video drones in capturing seldom seen perspectives on the area unless you happen to own your own plane.
Local publisher and heralded writer and poet Carla Perry has been appointed to sit on the Newport Visioning Committee along with Urban Planner Cathey Briggs to round out the citizens’ positions on the panel. The committee will forecast what Newport could become or at least evolve toward over the next 25 to 50 years. Other Newport Vision Committee members include the city manager, community development director, member of the city council, chamber of commerce, city planning commission, Port of Newport and a representative from Oregon Coast Community College.
The committee is launching its visioning process quickly, aiming for a first visioning draft for the city council to review by August 15th or thereabouts.
And the city council threw a thousand dollars into the pot so that ODOT doesn’t have to spray herbicide along Highway 101 from Newport clear down to the Lane County line. Newport will be joined with several other cities that would rather turn over money to hand-pull weeds rather than using hazardous chemicals as have been used in the past.
And finally, with the construction of the new Newport Municipal Pool, parking around city hall is going to be at a premium from here on. The council directed staff to come up with a plan to better manage how various special events can be handled at the Newport Recreation Center, Municipal Pool, City Hall, Senior Citizens Center and other nearby venues and have enough parking to pull it off. Those holding special events of between 100 and 300+ persons will have to commit to a date on the calendar when their event will take place, how many attendees will participate, how many parking places they’ll need and whether they plan to shuttle-bus attendees in to the site.