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The Urban Renewal Agency is working to complete three major projects before it is terminated in 2014 according to a report to the September 4 meeting of the Salmon City Council.

Urban Renewal Agency Board member Ken Beller told the council that the agency’s number one goal targeted four years ago in a five year plan was to become debt free. He was happy to announce that goal was accomplished earlier this Summer.

The three remaining projects in the five year plan are; paving the parking lot at the corner of Water and VanDreff Streets, completing the Grizzly Bear statue ‘interactive water feature’ infrastructure and replacing the Town Square Park restroom.

Beller said Dahle’s Construction was awarded the parking lot paving project at an August 27 bid opening with its low bid of $67,000. He said the agency was very pleased with the bid since they had expected it to be quite a bit higher. The paving project was moved up on the priority list due to the need to take advantage of a hot mix plant now in the area for the airport runway work.

The parking lot will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. There will be an entryway on the alley and a catch basin for runoff at the corner of Water and VanDreff. Beller said the parking lot will be a great asset to Salmon, servicing parking needs of the Town Square Park, local restaurants, City Hall, the museum and library plus any future development of the Main Street property.

The next project will be ‘the Bear’ which residents have noticed is gone! In actuality the huge Bear sculpture is not gone, merely in hibernation while an infrastructure design is being planned for the site. A water delivery system plus power lines will be installed along with a recycling water feature that will send water cascading down the structure for the statue’s fish to climb. The water will be captured then sent back to the top to repeat the downward flow. The water feature’s water will be drained into a storm drain for cold weather winterizing. Beller said the construction drawings are underway by an Idaho Falls firm with proven expertise in water features. The agency’s project is moving forward with the assistance of retired architect Kerry Beyeler who has a long history of public works experience.

A ‘Water the Bear’ fund raiser sponsored by the Salmon Arts Council to supplement revenue for the ultimate water feature has raised over $20,000 which Beller said is a testimony to the generosity of the community. He said when the design drawings are accepted by the Urban Renewal Agency the agency will advertise the infrastructure project for bids and it is hoped a contract can be awarded to the lowest bidder by this fall with a completion date of sometime next Spring.

The third Urban Renewal project will be to replace the restroom at Town Square Park. Knowing that the city is contemplating the replacement of restrooms at City Park, Beller said the agency hopes the two entities might work together on finding and installing the most suitable facilities.

Terminating an Urban Renewal Agency is a legally prescribed process. Beller said the agency has hired a Boise attorney familiar with the process which includes public notices and resolutions. He said the agency will work with the city in terms of requirements and time tables.

Beller said the past four years have been interesting and the agency is glad to see the goals set forth by the City Council are indeed being completed. He said it couldn’t have been done without this July’s property sale to Summit National Bank or the assistance and dedication of the agency members who have spent countless hours working towards completion of the five year plan goals.

At this point Beller said it looks as if there will be substantial funds left over at the termination of the agency. He said it is his understanding those monies will go to the County Treasurer who in turn will redistribute the funds to the various taxing districts located within the Urban Renewal District boundaries.

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