An expanded program for small cities could mean four times as much funding for city streets, City Manager Nick Green told the John Day City Council at their July 10 meeting.
The Special City Allotment Grant Program from the Oregon Department of Transportation increased from a maximum of $50,000 per city per year to $200,000 for two projects, Green said. The deadline to submit grant applications has been moved up to Aug. 1, Green told the Eagle.
An increase in revenue from fuel taxes will further boost street funds for the city, he said. Both provisions were contained in the 2017 state transportation package.
Green said a large number of street projects could benefit from the additional money, and he cited several from the 41 listed in the April 2009 John Day Local Street Network Plan.
Councilor Dave Holland, the former John Day public works director, noted that $100,000 per project might not be enough to complete some of the larger projects suggested by Green.
Extending the Ironwood Estates Phase 2 street network or Valley View Drive west to Patterson Bridge Road would provide access to 40 acres of land for house construction, Green said.
The Ironwood extension was ranked medium priority and medium term in the 2009 plan, and the Valley View Drive extension was ranked low priority and long term.
Holland noted that developing the 40 acres would require expensive infrastructure improvements, such as water and sewer, which the city could not afford. Green agreed but noted that spending $100,000 on a street extension would be a step in the right direction. Councilor Shannon Adair said she’d like to see a commitment from the landowners to develop the land.
Extending Seventh Street west to Patterson Bridge Road was another option, but Green said he was concerned construction vehicles working on the new sewer treatment plant and the Innovation Gateway project could damage the new roadway.
Reconfiguring and improving the complex intersection at Charolais Drive, Valley View Drive and Bridge Street was another option. Holland noted that engineering work for that project has already been completed, and Grant County had agreed to assist with that project.
Holland noted that $100,000 also could pay for a lot of chip-sealing work on city streets. With three councilors absent that night, he suggested holding off a decision on street projects until the next council meeting.
Green said he would work up some cost estimates for four options and bring them back to the council July 24.
The council also approved two resolutions at their meeting related to construction of a 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot commercial greenhouse at the Innovation Gateway project. A decision to award a bid proposal for the greenhouse was delayed to the council’s July 24 meeting because of the technical nature of the two highest-ranked proposals.
A special public works fund loan of up to $350,000 from the Infrastructure Finance Authority of the Oregon Business Development Department was approved to pay for the greenhouse. The 25-year loan carries a 3.43 percent interest rate.
The estimated total cost for the greenhouse is about $400,000, including engineering, design, construction, contingency and legal costs. The city expects to make the loan payments from the sale of produce from the greenhouse.