Albany Approves $ 15 Million Water Project | Local

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The City of Albany will borrow most of the remaining funds in a special tax district to create a new water experience along the Willamette River near downtown.

City officials, acting in their role as the Albany Revitalization Agency, directed the staff on Wednesday, November 17th, to pursue funding for a $ 15 million waterfront redevelopment project. Nearly $ 5 million in additional projects could be considered at a later date when funding becomes available.

The project aims to better connect the city center with the waterfront. Funded by the Central Albany Revitalization Area – the redevelopment district itself – the city will upgrade a section of downtown that runs along Water Avenue from Monteith Riverpark to Main Street. The project area comprises up to 24 hectares of park area and 14 blocks of road landscape.

Albany’s waterfront is separated from downtown by parking lots, railroad tracks, missing sidewalks, intersections, and Water Avenue. Thick foliage and restricted access obscure it from downtown visitors. In recent years, the city has received waterfront land for public use and has planned improvements to Water Avenue and parks.

Architectural firm Walker Macy designed the waterfront redevelopment with features such as a new stage / event space in Monteith Riverpark, a new playground, water play area, and renovated piers, and a more pedestrian-friendly Water Avenue. The Dave Clark Trail is also being renewed with improved views of the river.

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An overview of the step-by-step construction plan for the waterfront project.


Image courtesy of the City of Albany


Although a significant amount of money has been saved and used on the riverside project, the $ 4.84 million provided will not be enough to complete it over the next two years, according to a city memo by Seth Sherry, the economic development manager at the prepared for the ARA meeting on Wednesday.

Citing rising borrowing and construction costs, Sherry wrote that it was prudent to borrow the remainder of the funds needed for the project.

Albany officials say it will be one of the last major cities on the Willamette to invest in its waterfront. The CARA Advisory Board, which makes recommendations to the similar-sounding ARA Board of Directors, approved the Waterfront project in November 2020 in the expectation that its tax hike funding district, founded in 2001, would expire in 2025.

The CARA Advisory Board typically meets with the ARA as two sides of the same coin. Wednesday’s meeting raised objections to the absence of CARA Advisory Board members as their meeting was not scheduled with the ARAs. A motion was made and supported for table discussion until the meeting of both groups, but there was no vote.

Two-phase construction could begin in spring or summer 2022. Sherry said the design and engineering for the project is 90% complete. Offer documents are currently in preparation. ARA voted 5-2 to continue the project, with members Dick Olsen and Matilda Novak opposed as the CARA board was not present.

Cody Mann covers the cities of Albany and Lebanon. He can be contacted at 541-812-6113 or [email protected]


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