Lila and Michael Bradley made some headway with the Lincoln City City Council Monday night in getting a favorable first blush on plans to rehabilitate the old Elks Club building there on 22nd near 101. The Bradleys want to give the building a huge make-over and turn it into a popular gathering place for the community, as well as for tourists. They want to create a first class restaurant inside, along with a large special events area to conduct weddings and anniversary parties and the like. Also some retail.
The Bradleys say they will invest up to a half-million dollars to bring the old building back from the brink. They say they have the expertise to not only restore the building, but also family members and friends who can run a very successful set of businesses when it’s ready to re-open.
The council had to decide if re-zoning the property to be able to do everything the Bradleys want to do was in the best interest of the city. Frequent council critic Jim Hoover said the best interest of the city would possibly include turning the site into affordable housing. Senior planner Deborah Nicholson said the building is in a commercial area and not near any other residential area. She said a recent re-do of the city’s general land use plan added 34 more acres for housing so there would be no net loss of land available for affordable housing if the city ultimately approves the Elks Lodge re-do. She said the affordable housing issue is still a big priority for for the city. But Hoover strongly hinted that if the council approves the zone change for the building he would appeal the decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals in Salem.
None the less, the council seemed to like the plans as laid out by the Bradleys. However, there are other details that need to be worked out, like parking – sharing the expansive parking lots that surround the lodge and other parking areas to the east and south toward the community center.
The council voted to keep talking about it at their next city council meeting October 24th. The Bradleys told the council they’d like to have their newly renovated Elks Lodge, renamed “The Beach Club,” to be open for business this spring.
Meanwhile, one of the more under-rated scenic spots in Lincoln City is about to get its due. It’s the often muddy pull-out spot just south of Taft, just before Highway 101 bears to the east enroute to Kernville. It’s formally called the Cutler Schooner Point Turnout. The plan is to put in sidewalks, parking spaces and hard surface walking areas which give a tempting view of the beach. There’s no public access down to the beach in that particular spot but locals and visitors alike manage to get to the beach anyway. The project is expected to go out to bid soon, with construction in the first quarter of next year.