After public hearing, the plan to redevelop the riverfront area moves on to its next phase

The city of Newberg has closed the chance for the public to participate in an online survey regarding development of the Riverfront Master Plan and will now move on toward the adoption phase.

The city held a public meeting Dec. 4 to show residents what the Riverfront Master Plan Citizen Advisory Committee had come up with for alternatives to the original 2002 plan, and then held an online survey for residents to fill out until Dec. 16.

The city first began updating its 16-year-old master plan in 2017, alalthough it had to put that off to begin construction of the Newberg-Dundee bypass. The original 2002 plan also suffered several setbacks, such as the economic recession and the closure of the WestRock Mill in 2016. However, the city began to look back at the riverfront master plan, in part due to a $200,000 grant from the state's Transportation and Growth Management Program.

The goal of the plan is to look at what mix of uses, both residential and commercial, should be in the riverfront area; planning a walking, biking and automotive network to increase connectivity within the area and the city; and protect open space.

Committee members heard a synopsis of prior public input and then began looking at three alternatives to the 2002 plan. The first alternative would be similar to the 2002 plan and would leave a bit of commercial space at the end of River Street, but would leave most of the mill site as it is for industrial use. The remaining alternatives look to introduce different types of comprehensive plans and zoning that would allow for other commercial use areas and different types of smaller industrial – such as tech uses – or mixed uses that aren't currently allowed.

All the all the alternatives would feature interconnected trail networks.

City officials began working on the updated plan in April, with hopes to have it completed next summer, although exact dates are subject to change.

This is the second time the city has held an open house meeting and online survey for residents to weigh in on regarding the Riverfront Master Plan. The first occurred in August and was viewed by about 150 people and the city received 45 responses to the questions. According to results posted in a city memo, respondents were "very supportive of the project vision and goals, with suggestions about particular features and concerns to emphasize." It went on to say most respondents do not frequently go to the riverfront area, but said park activities, businesses and better biking and walking connections would make them want to visit.

The memo stated trails were the most desired feature for the riverfront area, followed by picnic and playground areas. Pedestrian connections were important, while vehicle access was not.

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