Newport City Councilors Monday night offered a financial helping hand to a number of local non-profits, some of whom may use city grants to leverage their applications for even bigger grants from other agencies or larger foundations.
Agencies winning a share of the ten thousand dollars was the Newport Food Pantry at $1,600 for water and sewer hook-ups for their facility near the First Presbyterian Church on NE 12th. Lincoln County Children’s Advocacy Center was given $1,000, Habitat for Humanity was awarded $1,000, Samaritan House was gifted $3,000, Progressive Options was given $1,800, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) received $1,600.
Meanwhile, the council balked at awarding upwards of $700,000 to split between three well known tourism operations in Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, The Marine Museum and Heritage Center, and the Newport Performing Arts Center. City Councilor David Allen indicated he wanted more time to fully review the notes and information from the citizens task force that reviewed and closely examined proposals from five local groups that applied for funding and who recommended the aforementioned agencies. The council set a follow up meeting for March 20th, 6pm, at City Hall to make up its mind.
At the moment, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is recommended by the task force to receive $250,000, out of the million dollars available, for upgrading their seal and sea lion exhibit, the Maritime Museum is favored to receive $200,000 to help them finish their facility and finally open above the Bayfront, and the Newport Performing Arts Center for a bit of remodeling that would see a small black box theater be created out of what is now a rehearsal studio on the east side of the building. The project would involve a push out into the parking area so revamping traffic circulation and parking would also be required.
Two other projects, the Lincoln County Fair Multipurpose Pavilion ($1 million) and the Oregon Coast Aquatic Park ($650,000) were judged by the task force as being not ready for serious consideration in that neither had business or finished construction plans for their projects.
Should the tentatively approved projects be given the city council’s blessing, the funds would be issued only when determined by the city that the projects are ready to move ahead. Each has a different time line and there is the likelihood that one or all will be using those city room tax funds to leverage much larger grants from other funding sources.
It was noted by councilors Jeff Bertuleit and Lon Brusselback that after these awards are made, it will still leave $300,000 in the fund and that it might be a good idea to augment that amount, with additional room tax dollars, to build other facilities that would make coming to Newport all the more attractive. Councilor Berteleit is on the Board of Directors of the much heralded but not-yet-funded Oregon Coast Aquatic Park.