Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of asbestos removal may be needed at the Weaver Building on Main Street, City Manager Nick Green told city councilors at their June 12 meeting.
The city closed on the 12,000-square-foot complex of four connected buildings sharing one roof in November 2017 using a $100,000 Main Street Revitalization Grant and began to line up a $200,000 loan to complete Phase 1 renovation work.
That work would consist of interior demolition of the top floor, removal of hazardous materials, required structural reinforcement and constructing a fire separation between the first and second floors. The city expected that rental income from the four ground-floor businesses would pay off that loan in 10 years, he said.
The goal is to develop a mixed-use property, with commercial businesses on the ground floor and six condominiums on the second floor. Pinnacle Architecture estimated the completed project could cost nearly $2 million.
Green reported to the council that during an environmental evaluation, Paulsen Environmental Consulting of Vale had identified asbestos throughout the structure and lead in numerous locations.
He said he was working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to obtain grant funding to hire an asbestos abatement contractor to remove the hazardous materials.
That could amount to stripping the building down to its timber frame, Green said, leaving a clean building that would attract outside investment. At that point, the city could consider putting the building back on the market.
The cost to the city would be a “small match” for the grant funding, Green said, which he said was well worth the expenditure because it would leave the city with new residences and a “clean, healthy” building. He also noted the public sector needed to step up and take on this project because the private sector would not.
Green also reported that during an inspection of the ground-floor unit once used by the Naturally Yours store, city staff discovered an opening between the ceiling and the apartment above. Decades-old magazines, beer cans and other debris had fallen from the apartment.
Green said the hope was to put the ground-floor unit back on the market, but the city may now have to install adequate fire protection between the two floors before renting the unit.
In other city council news:
• The council unanimously approved 2018-2019 fiscal year budget. Appropriations and expenditures totaled $11.5 million, which included $1.4 million for the general fund, $1.2 million for the water fund, $1.5 million for the sewer fund and $521,000 for the street fund.
The $4.7 million for the IT fund included the $1.8 million state legislative appropriation to improve broadband in Grant County and an anticipated $2.9 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Connect grant not yet awarded.
• The council unanimously approved applying for a 2018 Recreational Trails Program grant from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, which was primarily for recreational trail projects rather than utilitarian transportation-based projects.
The city will apply for $180,000, with the city’s 20 percent match bringing total funding for the project to $240,000. The match can be cash or in-kind labor, Green said.
The goal is to improve access to the John Day River within the city limits, including connecting Prospector Trail at the Seventh Street Complex to Innovation Gateway. Four miles of interconnected paved and gravel paths, much of it ADA-accessible, would be developed.
Four trails are proposed — one along the river from the sports complex to Innovation Gateway, one looping up to Northwest Bridge Street and back down to the river, one north up Charolais Heights and Davis Creek to Northwest Valley View Drive and one along Canyon Creek to the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site.
Plans call for a pedestrian bridge over the river west of Canton Street and gravel parking lots near the pedestrian bridge and on Northwest Valley View Drive.
• Consultants will present results from a wastewater treatment plant feasibility study at the council’s June 26 meeting.