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No takers yet on downtown redevelopment plan

EAGLE POINT — City officials hope to breathe new life into a one-acre property in the heart of downtown that once provided a home base for the city fire department.

City Administrator Henry Lawrence said this week that so far no interest had been shown in the structure or three surrounding tax lots tucked along Main and Loto streets across from Bob Moore Park.

A request for proposals for redevelopment of the three parcels totaling some 30,000 square feet was posted on the city website in May.

Officials hope the property can be utilized to enhance and redevelop the downtown, Lawrence said, possibly with a mix of commercial and residential use.

Redevelopment proposals are due by July 10, but the deadline will be extended if no proposals are received, Lawrence said.

"We're hoping to interest a developer to develop it privately or sign on for a long-term lease or sale of the land," he said.

"My expectation is that we will probably leave the bidding process open-ended until someone comes forward to show interest."

Vacated and used for storage since it was replaced with a newer station on a different lot, the structure, dubbed a "blank canvas" by city Planning Director Mike Upton, could create a draw to the historic downtown.

A community workshop held last year gave residents a chance to offer feedback on potential uses for the space.

The site currently boasts a stick-built government structure erected in 1944 for highway department maintenance uses and moved to the downtown site for use as a fire station.

Hopeful that the property could provide additional commercial or service-oriented uses for the community, Lawrence said the property was a key component in the downtown plan.

With a number of vacant properties downtown, Lawrence said, city officials are hopeful that careful redevelopment will revive the historic core.

"We hope to see the property developed in a way that will work with the conceptual plan that the community developed," he said.

"We would like to see more commercial activity in downtown Eagle Point, with maybe some mixed uses such as living spaces above and commercial below. The land would support about 20,000 square feet of development. It's a good-size property in the heart of downtown Eagle Point. We want to see it put to good use."

On the web: www.cityofeaglepoint.org/DocumentCenter/View/996

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at buffyp76@yahoo.com