Civic center: Project continues to fuel interest

December 2017 Posted in Community

By James DayDSC_0176

The city of Silverton is hosting a town hall meeting at
6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18 at Silverton High School.

Mayor Kyle Palmer, City Council members and other city officials will be on hand to answer questions about city issues.

Palmer will give his “state of the city” address, with topics likely to include council goals, the Civic Center project, urban renewal, the Pettit property, a possible parks and recreation district formation, a ballot measure update and possible prohibitions involving polystyrene foam, plastic bags and smoking.

The plan for a new Civic Center complex on the site of the closed Eugene Field School continues to draw attention.

The City Council voted 7-0 at a special meeting Oct. 23 to go forward with the plan, which calls for building a police station, and eventually a City Hall and new council chambers on the site.

The purchase price was $1 million, with the funds coming from the Civic Building Project Fund in the 2017-18 fiscal year budget. The school buildings on the 3.46-acre site would be demolished because of environmental issues.

However, a group of local residents continues to suggest an alternative. Gene Pfeifer, Jack Hande and Vince Till forwarded a letter to city officials encouraging the city to preserve the school building for senior housing and erect the municipal complex elsewhere on the site.

“There is plenty of area left on the 3.5-acre property for a public police facility, etc.,” Pfeifer wrote in an email to Our Town. “The issue deserves presentation and to be vetted by our community. Do we want to keep Silverton? Or have it eventually eroded away?

“The current course exaggerates contamination and a path to demolition.”

Silverton City Manager Christy Wurster told Our Town that the city “intends to conduct a public process to determine the future use of the property.”

But she added that “due to the significant environmental and regulatory required abatement processes staff would not recommend re-use of the existing facility for any purpose.”

Problems cited by Wurster included materials containing lead – both in and on the building – building code requirements and seismic upgrades.

These issues, Wurster said, “make renovation an unlikely option. In addition, in staff’s opinion the existing structure is not the most productive use of the property.”

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