The city will provide $450,000 to help relocate Ferguson Enterprises on Burnham Street

COURTESY OF RESOLVE ARCHITECTS - Here's an artist's rendering of what the future plaza could look like.Tigard will help a downtown business relocate before its lease expires, providing the owners with a $450,000 relocation assistance offer that will pave the way to build an expansive plaza along Burham Street earlier than expected.

On Tuesday, the Tigard City Council, acting as the city's Town Center Development Agency Board, approved a measure allowing Ferguson Enterprises at 9110 S.W. Burnham St. to be excused from its lease with the city early.

The money to move would be funded through urban renewal funds.

The city is planning to build Universal Plaza on the property, which could be used for such events as concerts, movies and farmer markets.

The city acquired the 1.18–acre Burnham Street property in 2014 but the property had a lease already in place that allowed Ferguson to remain there until 2024. If Ferguson chose to keep its lease, the plaza wouldn't have been completed until 2026. Now, the city hopes to begin construction in 2021 with plans to soon seek out a design team for the project.

Still in the preliminary concept plan stage, the plaza would be built adjacent to the Fanno Creek Trail. A previous survey of more than 600 Tigard residents has shown interest in creating a plaza that includes food carts, ample parking, a splash pond for children and other amenities.

City staff said the square footage rate for the Tualatin site is 47 percent higher than that charged at its Tigard location.

Councilor John Goodhouse said he believes the new plaza will be a huge improvement to the downtown area.

Meanwhile, the council also approved having staff provide more information and look at the possibility of adding 52 cents per household to the monthly parks and recreation fee found in residents' utility bills. The addition would allow the hiring of a 1.35 full-time equivalent employee to work on recreation programs.

Deep cuts were made to the recreation program during the most recent budget cycle but the next proposed budget will ask for retention of the recreation program along with a recreation coordinator.

Also, the council approved having the Tigard Budget Committee look at adding $1.02 per household to the same parks and recreation fee during upcoming budget discussions so the city can keep up with parks maintenance projects around the city.

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