COOS BAY — Coos Bay City Council accepted the Urban Renewal Agency’s report for the 2017 fiscal year at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The Coos Bay Urban Renewal Agency consists of two urban renewal districts, the Downtown District, and the Empire District.
Urban renewal utilizes property taxes to fix identified problems within the area that the taxes are collected. It often focuses on improving an area’s transportation and utility infrastructure. Urban Renewal also tries to attract and retain small businesses and develop public spaces like parks, plazas, and trail.
During its 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Downtown District was able to start and complete a number of projects, including the Steve Prefontaine mural, and the creating new funding for the Coos Bay Downtown Association.
The Empire District finished the South Empire Boulevard project this fiscal year, which began back in 2010. Façade grant funds were also used to update the Dolphin Playhouse.
“There’s a number of different projects some get in the planning stages within a year, other can go from planning to completion, and some are ongoing and take multiple years,” Coos Bay city manager Rodger Craddock said.
“At the time and Urban Renewal District is formed they look at the assessed value of the properties within the district. Based on the assessed value by the county assessor, that area is determined to be the base value of the property,” Craddock said.
When the downtown Urban Renewal District was formed in 1988, the value was assessed at $50 million currently the property is worth $110 million. The Empire District’s initial basement in 1995 was $23 million, and currently the assessed value is $74 million.
Two gateway projects were started during the 2016-2017 fiscal year and will be finishing up this month. The project established two areas at the north and South ends of Coos Bay where 8 foot by 10 foot signs with the city’s seal will be placed. The city will receive the signs sometime next week, and expects to have them placed by the end of the month.
The downtown district’s total revenue for the 2016-2017 fiscal year was $886,067 and its total expenditures were 1.4 million. The Urban Renewal Agency estimates the next fiscal year to bring in $819,181 in tax increment revenue.
Last fiscal year the Empire District saw a total revenue of $675,577 with expenditures totaling $649,398. Tax increment revenue for the Empire district in the current fiscal year is estimated to be $663,070.
Plans for this year’s Urban Renewal projects will be discussed at the city council's upcoming work session at 7 p.m. on March 13.
“Next week at the work session we’re going to be talking about what’s next for Urban renewal. There is a street scape plan for downtown that is 10 phases. The council chose the two gateway projects that we’re doing right now at the entrances, but there are others on the list that can be done,” Craddock said.