Another Newport Town Hall – More sidewalks, making Nye Beach flood free, and fixing up civic buildings.
New sidewalks, celebrating the end of “predictable flooding” and outlining overdue maintenance of city buildings were all topics discussed at the second in a series of Newport City Council Town Hall meetings with the public Monday night at the Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach. City Public Works Director Tim Gross was on hand to explain the fix he and his department have accomplished that helps divert and meter storm water flows so the storm water system in Nye Beach doesn’t get backed up during major storms. The last several storms that blew ashore over the past couple of weeks would have normally inundated the business center of Nye Beach. But not this time. And Nye Beach residents and businesses are pleased about that. However Gross has said that nothing less than a complete inventory of Newport’s entire storm water system will reveal where improvements must be made and at what cost. Then they’ll have to begin talking about how to raise the money to do it.
Community Development Director Derrick Tokos reported that with the end of the north town urban renewal area project, there is about $300,000 in left-over funds that the city would like to spend on overdue building maintenance at the the Visual Art Center, the Performing Arts Center and at City Hall. Some long awaited renovations to the Newport Library are also on that list.
And Public Works Director Tim Gross announced that sidewalks from Highway 101 to Northwest Coast Street at Nye Beach will be finally completed. The new concrete will fill in the gaps in areas that have sidewalks and construct sidewalks along blocks that have never had them. The project will be done this summer.
It was also reported to the council that the recent series of storms that cut-off north-south travel between Newport and South Beach caused a lot of headaches for local businesses that had trouble getting their employees back and forth to work, supplies on their shelves and products for sale. It was mentioned that there is a feeling among some in the community that it’s the city’s responsibility to smooth out these challenging logistics. But it was also pointed out that the city is often far too busy protecting lives and property to become a purveyor of commercial business services under such conditions. It was recommended that local businesses develop their own emergency plans for keeping things as close to normal as are humanly possible realizing that when Mother Nature is reminding us where we live, we need to accommodate conditions the best we can when the Yaquina Bay Bridge closes.
Some among the public also gave the city kudos for the completion of Pirate’s Park just south of the Performing Arts Center. They say the pirate ship is an especially popular fixture at the new facility that is geared for families with young children.
More Town Hall Meetings, which are scheduled in months that have a 5th Monday are set for April 30, July 30 and October 29th. They’ll be at 7pm at locations to be announced.