With a delay in the processing of a state planning grant for the Innovation Gateway project, the John Day City Council has turned its attention to annexations and lot line adjustments related to the project.
The lot line adjustments between the former Oregon Pine mill site and Mills Building Supply, JD Rents and Clark’s Disposal initially were delayed until the new commercial greenhouse could be sited, City Manager Nick Green told the city council Aug. 28.
Because the annexation process can be complicated, Green advised combining the annexation of the Oregon Pine property, which the city acquired in 2017 for the Innovation Gateway project, with other annexations.
That includes a portion of the Hills property recently acquired by the city, an island of land near the Charolais Heights Road intersection that is in the county but totally surrounded by the city.
The city is also considering annexing Grant Union Junior-Senior High School and nearby properties owned by the Old West Federal Credit Union, which lie in between the cities of John Day and Canyon City.
The council will hold its first study session to discuss the annexations at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the John Day Fire Hall.
Bureaucratic delays have held up the state Transportation Growth Management grant, worth nearly $200,000 including city’s $27,000 match, Green said. The grant will provide a framework for comprehensive planning, financing and implementation of the Innovation Gateway project.
A public process for the planning will include three meetings of the city’s advisory committees, three open houses for the public, a joint working session with the city council and city planning commission, public hearings before the city council and city planning commission and a launch event at the conclusion of the public process sometime next summer.
The council also reviewed final plans from EuroMex for the city’s commercial greenhouse and approved a purchase and sale agreement. The total price came in higher than originally submitted at $367,320, but it includes about $39,000 in add-ons at no extra cost.
EuroMex threw in a public art package for an outdoor sitting area worth $14,000 that the city must assemble, grow lights and outdoor lighting worth $10,000 and a two-week training trip to Mexico for John Day Agribusiness Manager Matt Manitsas worth $12,000.
The final design, tweaked by EuroMex officials who recently visited John Day, calls for three 2,000-square-foot bays offset to maximize viewing by visitors on Highway 26. The public viewing area features a show room area with tempered glass.
Joe Hitz of Sisul Engineering sited the greenhouse to allow two more bays to be built to the east, Green said. EuroMex will send a crew to install electronics and oversee local workers who will assemble the greenhouse.
The Grant County Planning Commission approved the city’s land-use application for the greenhouse Aug. 23 but requested a revised map showing access from Highway 26.
A special public works fund loan of up to $350,000 from the Oregon Business Development Department’s Infrastructure Finance Authority will be used to pay for the greenhouse. The 25-year loan carries a 3.43 percent interest rate.
The estimated total cost for the greenhouse is more than $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, which is expected to be 30 tons of vegetables per year — enough to meet the city’s needs.