Central Park

The Baker City Council has agreed to have the city buy a parcel beside Central Park, between the Powder River and Resort Street, to be used for public access to the park, and for vehicle parking.

The Baker City Council on Tuesday approved the $200,000 purchase of property that will give the public a new access route to the city’s Central Park as well as create public parking near downtown.

The city is buying the property from Greg Sackos.

The 21,294-square-foot parcel is on the west side of the city-owned park, and is accessed from Resort Street.

On Oct. 6, City Manager Fred Warner Jr. and Sackos signed a purchase agreement, contingent on the City Council approving a resolution authorizing the deal, setting the purchase price at $200,000.

City officials have been seeking for the past 3 years to buy the property, according to Warner’s report to councilors.

The only current access to the park is on foot or bicycle via the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway, the paved path along the east side of the park, next to the Powder River. The park is between Washington and Valley avenues.

The city allocated $60,000 from its Leo Adler Memorial Parkway/Park fund for the purchase. A private nonprofit, Leo Adler Memorial Parkway Inc. has amassed private donations totaling $50,000, and the Leo Adler Foundation has approved a grant of $50,000, contingent on the city having a signed purchase agreement for the Sackos property.

That leaves a $40,000 shortfall, and in his report, Warner proposes that the city make up the difference with money from the Elkhorn View Industrial Park fund.

The city has $253,000 in that fund, from sales of lots in the industrial park in northwest Baker City, to be used for economic and community development.

In other business Tuesday, County Commission Chairman Bill Harvey asked councilors to not burden the planning department with more regulations.

“These folks in the planning department do a phenomenal job, they are very knowledgeable at what they’re doing but if we overburden them with, in my estimation, extra paperwork that’s not necessary, we slow the whole process down,” said Harvey, who owns a construction company.

“One example you might already know, you could have an outright use for a commercial building in commercial property, and there’s a waiting notification notice of 30 days,” Harvey said. “That’s not even commonsensical.”

Mayor Loran Joseph said city and county officials have discussed the issue and will continue to do so.

“I apologize that the industry is hurting but we will look at what policy we can take as a city to improve the conditions,” Joseph said.

Harvey said Planning Department officials might have ideas on regulations that could be eliminated or streamlined.

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