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Strategic plan discussed to aid development of industrial park owned by city

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - The St. Helens City Council discusses a 200-acre parcel of city-owned property that serves as a heavy industrial site during a meeting Wednesday, Jan. 17. The council is hoping to establish a vision for how to develop the site as a potential industrial park in the future. The St. Helens City Council wants to change the conversation when it comes to the future of its 205-acre industrial property by developing a vision for the site and giving it a new name.

During a City Council work session, Wednesday, Jan. 17, City Administrator John Walsh broached the subject of how to rebrand the site as an industrial business park and package it for future development.

"The work we're doing is really conceptual," Walsh said. "It's an approach to redevelopment. We're sort of on the path to get marketing materials together."

During Wednesday's meeting, city councilors discussed the future of the site, but without a clear vision from the council, it's hard to move forward with next steps. City Councilor Keith Locke suggested the council hold a work session to address the issue.

"We all have our ideas, and they're all kind of the same, but we haven't really finalized anything," Locke explained.

Currently, the site is a single-user industrial site, without parcels to break up the land or any type of infrastructure to entice development, Walsh and Mayor Rick Scholl pointed out.

The former Boise White Paper plant is still used by Cascades Tissue, and the city recently signed a lease agreement with ASCP LLC to establish a marijuana grow operation on 9.5 acres at the site.

Beyond those two businesses, however, the property is vacant. The city finalized purchase of the property in 2015, but much of the city's recent focus has been on launching redevelopment along the waterfront and not much planning has been done for other city properties.

"We have people interested, but we don't have a plan," Scholl said during Wednesday's discussion.

Walsh also suggested the city look for funding sources to cover part of the cost for a consultant to help develop marketing materials promoting the council's vision for the site.

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