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Meeting today focuses on Gold Hill development

GOLD HILL ' The city and the state Transportation Growth Management Program are co-hosting a community development meeting today.

Gold Hill is negotiating its way through &

36;5 million worth of state and federal grants with the help of community planner Sue Densmore, Bev Thacker of the Oregon Economic Community Development Department and the city's community development group Can-DO.

The meeting will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at Gold Hill City Hall, 420 Sixth St.

According to the 1990 Census, 51.3 percent of Gold Hill residents registered in the low- to moderate-income bracket. Thacker says this figure gives the community increased eligibility for grants. But the 2000 Census showed improved economic figures for residents, and that may eliminate some of the city's eligibility.

Additionally, the city can only apply for three OECD grants at a time. But the city has several major projects needing funding, including relocating its water intake system, building a new library, redeveloping downtown and upgrading its wastewater treatment plant.

The city is holding a series of meetings to show residents the possibilities for development and to get as much input as possible.

Monday's meeting will feature urban planner Greg Chew of Parsons Brinckerhoff and is designed to provide public education on small-town development. The workshop will feature a slide show to demonstrate planning concepts using other small Oregon towns as examples.

Representatives of the Oregon Downtown Development Association recently spent three days canvassing the city, asking business owners and residents their ideas of what would improve the quality of life in Gold Hill. After listening and brainstorming, Mike Cerbone of ODDA and landscape architect David Dougherty offered community members a presentation featuring slides, conceptual drawings and ideas for the city's future.

Cerbone and Dougherty urged Gold Hill to capitalize on its unique location on the Rogue River and to preserve its historic past of mining. Meanwhile, the pair showed schematics demonstrating how tree-lined streets and conversational kiosks near the river would create a more people-friendly environment that would encourage foot traffic and more commerce without destroying the small-town feel of the community.

For more information, contact Margaret Dials at 1-541-855-1951 or Gloria Eilefson at 1-541-855-8936.

Sanne Specht is a free-lance writer living in Rogue River. Reach her at RogueRiverGal@aol.com.