Council wants more information before Bolton decision
Funding for a concept design of a restored old Bolton fire station will have to wait. The West Linn City Council decided it needed to hear more information before deciding on funding for such a project. The council discussed the possibility of revitalizing the station, along with the feasibility of granting $45,000 to a new group called the West Linn Collaborative for a concept design of the restoration at a work session Monday, Sept. 23.
At the beginning of Monday's discussion, City Manager Eileen Stein noted that the executive members of the collaborative who originally asked the council for the grant at a meeting one week prior had since stepped down from their positions and removed themselves from the group.
According to the group's initial presentation, the collaborative was expecting the restoration to cost around $800,000.
During the public comment portion of Monday's meeting, three community members expressed concern about granting money to the collaborative at this stage, while a fourth West Linn resident pointed out that the council previously budgeted $30,000 in funds for a preliminary evaluation and plan for the building two years ago.
Abby Farber, David Baker and Stacy Epsteen told the council the City does not need another community center. A recreation center is what's needed, Epsteen said, while Farber noted that every evening, there is availability for meeting space at Robinwood Station, the Adult Community Center and other facilities in the community.
Councilor Jules Walters asked City Attorney Tim Ramis if the City would be able to fund this process with GO bond money, to which he responded that would go against the usual process for assigning bond funds.
"I think we need to fundamentally look at that along with the whole issue with bond council of what purposes could these funds be used for and can they be used for a grant," Ramis said.
Walters also read the laundry list of items that would need to be completed to make the building fit for community use, which included such tasks as installing an elevator, lighting and electrical upgrades, window replacements, building two new bathrooms, providing seismic structural upgrades and removing asbestos, among other things.
"I can see this going from $800,000 to over $800,000 very quickly," Walters said.
Mayor Russ Axelrod mentioned that improvements to be made to Highway 43 could impact the area around the station, rendering a concept design inaccurate. He recommended waiting on a design process until the City has a better idea of how the highway improvements will affect the area.
The council also discussed updates that could come to other community centers such as Robinwood. Some councilors suggested it might not be the best use of the City's limited funds to finance improvements to both Robinwood and the old Bolton station.
With several factors that could that could impact the restoration of the building still up in the air, the council erred on the side of caution and decided to hold off on allocating funds for the project until it has more information on the Highway 43 project, funding for other community centers and whether bond funds could be used for a grant.
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