With both applicants’ approval, the John Day City Council agreed Feb. 26 to forward two applications to the state for Main Street Revitalization grants worth up to $200,000 each.

Greg and Marla Armstrong requested $200,000 they would match with $446,000 for a major remodel of the Len’s Drug store on Main Street. Plans call for increasing retail space by about 4,500 square feet by expanding west. The Corner Cup building, which they also own, likely would be removed.

Noting how the store expanded into adjacent spaces since 1977, the Armstrongs said the $646,000 project would create a more uniform retail space with less unusable corners and improve the Main Street storefront with updated energy-efficient windows and insulated walls.

The 1188 Brewing Company, which completed a major interior remodel last year, requested $90,860 with a $23,500 match to create an integrated facade for the original part of the business and the expansion into adjacent space to the west.

Co-owner Shannon Adair, also a city councilor who abstained from the council decision, said that in addition to creating a better looking storefront, safety issues would be addressed by installing new windows.

City Manager Nick Green said he was told it was unlikely that a single city would receive more than $200,000. Greg Armstrong said he would scale back the Len’s Drug project if they didn’t receive the grant, and Adair said the 1188 project would still get done but not as quickly.

In other city council news:

• The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has informally approved the city’s plan for a new wastewater treatment plant that will produce reclaimed water, Green said.

That approval includes allowing the city to obtain a permit to discharge reclaimed water in winter, when more reclaimed water is produced than can be put to use, he said.

The city learned Feb. 28 that it was awarded a $196,500 federal Community Development Block Grant that will pay for engineering and design for the new facility. The city issued a request for bids the same day.

The council also approved a $15,000 professional services agreement with Clean Water Services of Hillsboro to assist with water reuse planning, specifically for constructed wetlands and watershed improvements along the John Day River.

• Noting four errors, Guyer & Associates reported in their audit for fiscal year 2018 that the city was in substantial compliance with state regulations.

The firm found over-expenditures of $6,070 in the Water Fund and $10,259 in the Information Technology Fund. The city also failed to keep a written record related to proposals for a police vehicle and failed to include a website address in a newspaper legal advertisement.

• In her update on event planning, Councilor Adair advised that March 23 might be too soon for holding a street fair. She also noted that a hot rod club had shown interest in riding through the area in June.

Green told the Eagle that the Oregon Department of Transportation had not approved closing Highway 26 for the street fair and instead suggested using a side street.

• The council agreed to create a Community Development Committee that will oversee public relations, community events and marketing and branding.

Oversight of the zoning and planning commission would be moved to the new committee from the administrative committee. Adair, Mayor Ron Lundbom and Councilor Gregg Haberly agreed to serve on the new committee.

• Tim Unterwegner was re-appointed to the zoning and planning commission.

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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