Downtown Woodburn gets URA shot in the arm
During its Jan. 28 meeting, Woodburn Urban Renewal Agency awarded a $250,539.33 construction contract to EMTech, LLC, for a complete reroofing along with seismic and other upgrades to the Woodburn Museum and Bungalow Theater properties.
Additionally, the owners of couple of downtown buildings and two businesses received a boost in their plans when Woodburn URA allotted them matching grants.
The grant funds require a 75-percent match from the recipient; building or business owners receive a quarter of the funds estimated to complete a given project with the understanding they will furnish the balance. Recommendations come through Woodburn's Downtown Advisory Review Subcommittee (DARS), and the program aims to incentivize business and property owners within the city's Urban Renewal District to spruce up their holdings.
Recent awards included: $19,220 to Irma Nocedal of Tienda Mexicana Monte Alban for interior improvements to property at 425-445 First St.; $15,846 to Chay LLC for improvements at 405 and 425-445 First St.; $8,550 to Ulises Morales, who proprietor of Real Mexican Food, for interior improvements at the Metropolis, 347 N. Front St., No. 2.
The overall cost of each improvement project listed above is $76,880, $63,382 and $34,200 respectively.
"The purpose of the Urban Renewal program in downtown is it's designed to attract private investment into downtown, to help provide more viable operations and sustainable buildings for the benefit of the community," said Woodburn City Administrator Scott Derickson. "You can see here, for our $8,500, it will leverage an additional $25,000 of private investment; $60,000 private investment to match (another) grant. So it's working quite well in terms of trying to attract private-sector dollars into downtown."
Monte Alban business owners' plan calls for moving from their smaller Front Street location to larger space on First Street.
"The exciting thing for the city is that building will be given a whole new life," Woodburn Economic Development Director Jamie Johnk said. "It's an amazing building, so we're excited to see a commercial entity go in there."
Johnk said her research indicated that the building has sat vacant since 2006.
Interior improvements to the First Street property include electric upgrades, installation of ADA compliant restrooms, plumbing upgrades and installation of HVAC system and ductwork, all required for the planned retail business to operate in the building. The business, Monte Alban, plans a grand opening in late April or May of 2019.
The Front Street property improvements call for the Metropolis space to include the installation of a commercial hood, construction costs, and signage, all necessary for Morales to operate his restaurant, Real Mexican Food.
The theater and museum project has been in the works for a while.
"We've been working on this project for quite some time," Johnk said. "The roof has been patched and fixed to the point where we can't patch and fix it anymore. It needs and entire new reroof, and while we're there we decided that for security and safety of the public, we are actually going to do some seismic upgrades."
Some costs were offset by $50,000 remaining from a $100,000 grant through the Oregon Main Street Revitalization program.
The URA report noted that the theater/museum is part of a phased project to restore the properties, "in order to allow for broader public use for displaying historic and cultural artifacts significant to Woodburn.
"In addition, the goal is to promote community use of the Bungalow Theater for fundraising event space, local theatrical productions, dance recitals, showing movies, and more."