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Talent eyes future of city needs

TALENT ' With the adoption of City Council goals earlier this month, the city's leaders are hoping to preserve small-town livability while creating more amenities for a growing population.

Winning voter approval for a proposed new civic center was named the top priority during the annual goal-setting process.

The current cramped City Hall at 204 E. Main St., along with the empty fire station nearby, would be torn down to make way for a new civic and multi-purpose building.

In May, Eugene-based Advanced Marketing Research Inc. will conduct a phone survey of Talent residents to test the waters for a possible bond measure in November to finance the civic center campus.

Voters also could be asked to approve a bond to boost the city's park system.

— The council hopes to develop a secure source of funding for parks maintenance, land buys and programs, either through a bond or other financing.

As liaison to the (Talent) parks commission, I'm delighted parks was put high on the priority list, said Councilwoman Darby Stricker. It's about the second-highest priority for the city.

The city already has raised some money for parks this year. A benefit auction held at Paschal Winery this month brought in more than &

36;5,000, according to City Manager Betty Wheeler.

Improving Talent's appearance also is on the council's to-do list.

The city may target problem areas, review ordinances and codes, increase enforcement, decorate the town for holidays and encourage residents' involvement.

We want to identify areas that need extra attention, so when people come to visit Talent, it's a place they like to be and it's a place where people like to live, said Mayor Marian Telerski.

As Talent grows, the council wants to make sure people can get around by foot or bicycle by mapping existing trails and planning new ones.

Developers would be encouraged to preserve informal trails that crisscross fields and empty lots as they build.

Before things get built up and built out, we need to make sure we have defined our trails, Telerski said.

To improve public safety, the council wants to direct resources at parks and abandoned buildings.

Last week, the council took steps to fulfill another goal when it enacted an ordinance to boost recycling.

Lisa Black, recycling coordinator for Ashland Sanitary & Recycling Service, will visit businesses and apartment complexes to encourage use of new recycling containers. Ashland Sanitary provides garbage and recycling services in Talent as well as in Ashland.

Beginning Thursday, all recyclables ' except motor oil and glass ' can be commingled in the new containers, which also are being delivered to residential customers, she said. Residents previously had to separate their recyclables.

We really want to push it now that it's going to be easier, Black said.

The city's conservation program will include mandatory recycling and green waste composting by city departments, the establishment of a conservation commission and efforts to promote recycling citywide.

We cannot be cavalier about waste, Telerski said. For most people, it will save them money to recycle and compost.

Other council goals include re-evaluating the town's transportation system plan and land use map, creating an evaluation process for land acquisitions, and creating greater awareness of city business.

Vickie Aldous is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach her at 482-3456.