Written by Kelly Kaczala
December 31, 2008
Oregon City Council removed funding earmarked for next year’s budget that would have paid for the installation of a water fountain in front of the municipal building on Seaman Road.
“This council knows we have been discussing, for a couple years, improvements to the property at the corner of Wheeling and Navarre,” said Councilman Jerry Peach at a Dec. 22 council meeting. “Fifty thousand dollars has been proposed for that project, which may or may not involve some kind of water fountain or waterfall. I remain supportive of the $50,000 in that line item. But the $25,000 anticipation of installing a fountain in front of the municipal building, I really have some reservations regarding that. Unless there’s some compelling reason, which I’m not aware, that we would want to put a water fountain in front of the municipal building, I would just as soon remove this from the proposed budget.”
Mayor Marge Brown said funding for the water fountain has been included in previous years’ budgets.
“It has been in the budget for the last three years, and we just haven’t done anything with it. If you want to remove it, that’s perfectly okay,” said Brown. “We were trying to figure out what we could do for the front of this building to keep it in line with what our theme is. Supposedly, all these years, we’re Oregon-on-the-Bay, and we want to do something with the water theme. That’s been looked at over at Wheeling and Navarre. Whether that happens, I don’t know. It was just an idea that was bandied about with the public service department.”
Councilman James Seaman, chairman of the finance committee, agreed that the item should be removed.
“I think there have been some decent improvements to the front of the building already,” said Seaman. “I think we should just cultivate and maintain what we already have in terms of the landscaping and maintaining all the newer features that we have there.”
Council President Mike Sheehy also noted major improvements that were already made to the front of the municipal building.
“It’s more than a little improvement. It’s a vast improvement over what the previous administration has done for the front of the municipal building,” said Sheehy. “It’s been organized well. It’s not only aesthetically more pleasing, but we’ve also taken the opportunity to make it a much more secure building for our court and city employees. So in that regard, I think the administration is making giant leaps. But I’m mindful of the fact that water is a theme for the city. And we decided early on that more people are going to see that theme at the corner of Navarre and Wheeling, if that project gets finished.”
Administrator Ken Filipiak, said work on a flower garden at the front of the building last summer was well received by the public. “When we did the change in the brickwork out there, and re-did all the walkways in the front, we did install conduit to allow for the installation of underground piping so that could be used for a water fountain. We also installed electrical. That was part of the original contract. And when we did that work, we talked about the fact that the actual area, where you now see as a planting area, was sized to accommodate the water fountain in the future. We didn’t want to spend the money at that time, which was two ½ years ago. We did plan on phasing that in at a future time. We did have it actually in last year’s budget. We chose not to do it because we weren’t quite sure what style we wanted. And we wanted to try and match that up with what we may end up doing at the corner of Wheeling and Navarre. That can be done at any time, and it certainly doesn’t have to be done this year.”
Council later unanimously approved next year’s budget.
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