What was once a major center of Lincoln City community activity is back in the running to be all that and more again very soon.
Since the city declined to buy the old Elk’s Lodge at 22nd and 101, claiming the Elk’s wanted too much for it, a local contractor decided he’d buy it. He’s local contractor Mike Bradley. What better buyer than a contractor because the old lodge needs a ton of work to bring it back to its former glory.
Bradley and his wife Lila wants to restore the old building and return it to its former self and then some – a meeting place, fitness center, performance hall, restaurant, bar and a few other fun things. Just like the good ole days. But one thing holding the project back is that despite it being surrounded by an small ocean of parking spaces, none of them belong to the old property except for a few spaces right up against the building. So Bradley needs some help from the city. He wants to enter into an agreement with the city to let his new business complex use some adjacent city parking to make it work.
The city planning commission reviewed the request recently and reacted rather positively. But they left the heavy lifting of the decision to the city council. That’s because Michael Bradley is married to Lila Bradley, the city’s widely respected and frequently lauded Public Works Director.
Some city residents are strongly suggesting that there is a “conflict of interest” or some “ethical impropriety” about the deal.
The planning commission drilled down into the issue. City Attorney Richard Appicello told the commission that the Elk’s Lodge, a NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, always had access to city parking which the city graciously allowed for years in the spirit of being a good neighbor. The city didn’t charge the Elk’s for the parking because the lodge was a regular community booster and ran many special events and programs throughout the year to benefit the people and business community of Lincoln City.
But Michael and Lila Bradley are not a non-profit agency. But the planning commission was impressed with their plans to literally bring the property back to life in ways that would continue the Elks Lodge legacy.
Appicello told the commission that the Bradleys do own something that the city definitely needs from them. And that need is continued CONVENIENT access to the city Community Center from the north – without drivers having to drive east on 22nd and loop back to the west, or south on 101 and loop back up to the north. Use of the old Elk’s Lodge driveways make it a straight shot. And that’s worth something to the city because who doesn’t absolutely love the Community Center?
So there appears to be some initial interest in drawing up a contract between the city and the Bradleys, that puts a value on those lodge driveways as convenient access routes to the Community Center. That way the city is sharing some of it’s parking east of the lodge in exchange for better access to the Community Center from north 101.
But is it legal? Appicello says it is, adding that such partnerships between the public and private sectors go on everyday all over the country. The benefit could also be defined as an added economic, social and cultural rejuvenation for the community.
The city council will review the case at their July 11th meeting.