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Commercial building planned

EAGLE POINT — This farming community that was recently billed the fastest-growing town in Southern Oregon may soon have a commercial building it hopes will be the envy of its neighboring communities.

Former state senator Ron Grensky wants to put up a 6,000-square-foot, historic-looking building on the corner of Main and Royal, across from the old covered bridge that spans Little Butte Creek.

It could be the envy of any city around here, said Bunny Lincoln, city planner. It's the kind of design you might see in Jacksonville, Ashland or a high-end commercial area of Medford.

Grensky, a Medford lawyer, envisions a restaurant in his two-story, brick-faced building, with a balcony that offers a view of the historic bridge and the creek. Drawings show flower planters, awnings, a cobblestone courtyard, a fountain, benches and antique-type lights.

I'd like to see a nice, sit-down restaurant that would utilize outdoor dining since we have such mild weather here, said Grensky, who lives in Jacksonville. There's really only a few months of the year that you can't eat outside.

He's already had phone calls from people interested in leasing space for restaurants, a health club and a physical therapy office.

There is a huge demand for a lot of different types of businesses that aren't in Eagle Point now, Grensky said.

As long as tenants are secured, crews could break ground on the $450,000 project in the spring and have the building completed by summer, Grensky estimated. Its location would be at the former site of a tax office destroyed in an arson fire last year. Grensky owned the 100-year-old building that was too old to insure. He also owns a two-story brick building across the street that he plans to refurbish.

The new building would be about a block away from two museums and the historic Butte Creek Mill, which attracts 40,000 tourists a year, many coming by tour bus from the East Coast.

Grensky's plans fit right into the dreams Eagle Point leaders have for this town that grew 12 percent in 1998 and 7.8 percent last year.

Mr. Grensky's building is going to be a key element in the revitalization of Eagle Point, City Administrator David Hussell said.

For its part, the city plans to demolish the old city hall building and put in a parking lot a block away from Grensky's proposed building.

Our world-class golf course has created the recognition that Eagle Point has a lot to offer, Hussell said. Now we are having a resurgence on the commercial end of the spectrum. Investors are realizing that more customers means more opportunities.

Grensky agreed that Eagle Point is growing up. New businesses springing up on Highway 62 nearly connect Medford, White City and Eagle Point. And last year's improvements to Crater Lake Highway created a faster, safer commute for Upper Rogue residents, 80 percent of whom drive to jobs outside of Eagle Point.

The town has come to Eagle Point in a way, Grensky said. And you have a high quality of life out there. It's still a rural atmosphere where people can see the mountains, see the streams and enjoy a real sense of community.