Funding arrangements for John Day’s major projects will be complex — especially the new wastewater treatment plant.

That was the message City Manager Nick Green delivered to the city council April 23. The city’s goal is 60 percent grants and 40 percent loans for the $10 million-plus project.

While the city continues to finalize a professional services agreement with Anderson Perry to engineer the facility, the city has received a $196,500 federal Community Development Block Grant that can be used with a $200,000 city match for planning and design.

Anderson Perry has recommended a three-stage design process, Green said. While the physical process goes from headworks and solids handling to the membrane reactor and then to the reclaimed water plant, the engineers recommended design and pre-purchase of the membrane reactor first, he said.

Once the design and pre-purchase of the membrane reactor is completed, then the other two major components can be addressed. Green said Sustainable Water, which has sent representatives from Richmond, Virginia, to John Day, will likely bid on the hydroponic reactor portion of the facility.

The construction timeline will depend on awarding the membrane reactor bid and permitting from the state Department of Environmental Quality. Green proposed additional funding first from state and local sources, then federal loans if needed and finally USDA or CDBG grants.

Funding and design will go on simultaneously in this complex process. Green noted that state funding has fewer restrictions and interest rates more in line with the city’s needs. The council gave its consensus to proceed as proposed. The agreement documents will be brought back to the council for approval May 14.

The council also gave its consensus to apply for a $40,000 planning grant from the state Department of Parks and Recreation that will help the public understand plans for funding the construction and future operation of a new public swimming pool.

The grant would be used to determine the aquatic facility’s size, amenities, design and location; establishing a service district that might include residents within 15 miles of the new pool to provide revenue for the pool’s operation; preparing a bond measure and the capital bond needed to pay for construction of the pool; and determining the organizational structure for the board that would oversee the service district and pool.

Green noted that the city was “tip-toeing” toward a decision on whether to sell the Gleason Pool to the state for development of a new interpretive center at the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site.

The council also gave its consensus to proceed with two grant applications for development of the former Oregon Pine mill site — one to the Ford Family Foundation and the other to USDA Rural Development.

The grants would be used to rehabilitate the planer and sorter shed for code compliance, convert the shed into an open-air pavilion, install restrooms, design the parking lot and street network, landscape and build trails between the shed and the greenhouses, and install utility connections as needed. The city’s $250,000 match would come from the city’s investment in the greenhouses and city shop, Green said. The Ford Foundation had encouraged the city in the past to apply for the grant, he said.

Green noted that rehabilitating the pedestrian bridge near the yellow steel sawmill building would be done using other funding and donated materials sometime next year.

The council also gave its consensus to proceed with funding for the South Canyon Boulevard sidewalk project. Green said the city’s remaining obligation for the project is about $20,000. Construction of the sidewalk from Sixth Street to the high school could take place in fiscal year 2021, Green said.

In other council news, Councilor Shannon Adair said Grant County Fair Manager Mindy Winegar had asked the city to set up an information booth at the county fair explaining its major projects.

Green noted that posters and other presentation materials from the upcoming regional economic development meeting could be used. City staff or councilors could staff the booth at times, and a cycling digital presentation could be used.

Mayor Ron Lundbom said he had never seen the city do anything like that. The council approved the idea.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at rick@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at rick@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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