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Byline: The Register-Guard

Vote set for June 14 on

major development plan

The Springfield City Council is set to decide June 14 whether to approve an application that would set the stage for widespread construction on a vacant, 100-acre field near the intersection of Marcola Road and 28th Street. The property, long owned by the local Pierce family, was sold last year to a Reno, Nev.-based development company for $8 million.

Officials representing the firm - JHB Inc. International - say they have grand plans for the site. They envision building clusters of homes, apartments, shops and office buildings there. Anchoring the "Villages at Marcola Meadows" development would be a 170,000-square-foot Lowe's home improvement center.

During a hearing last week, the City Council listened to neighbors who said they would like to see JHB's plan stopped. Some said they oppose the proposal because it would increase traffic and the number of children enrolled in schools in the neighborhood.

Also testifying at the hearing was a representative of the developer, who argued that the plan is a solid one that will benefit the entire community.

Speaking on behalf of JHB, planning consultant Rick Satre of Eugene said the Villages at Marcola Meadows would provide Springfield residents with new employment, housing and shopping opportunities, and create about 10 acres of public parkland.

The City Council's expected vote on June 14 will not represent a ruling on JHB's development plan. Rather, the decision at hand is whether to amend the city zoning map and the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan, to allow commercial and residential development on 56 acres now zoned for industrial use.

The city Planning Commission last month voted 5-2 in favor of recommending the City Council approve the changes.

Budget Committee backs city's spending plan

Judging from the city's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, it appears that Springfield is in fine financial shape - for now.

In an 11-0 vote last week, the city Budget Committee recommended that the City Council give final approval to a status-quo spending plan that aims to maintain service levels through June 2008. The committee includes all six city councilors and six members of the public.

The committee recommended a $15,000 increase in the library's annual materials budget, which is considered underfunded when compared to other libraries in Oregon.

The book budget request was considered separately from the vote on the overall city budget recommendation.

Other special funding requests approved as a result of separate votes by the committee included $12,000 for the Springfield Arts Commission; $15,000 for the Springfield Museum; and $20,000 for the Human Services Commission, which had requested more than $30,000 from the city.

Within the next month, the City Council is expected to make its final decision on the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Springfield's proposed operating budget - which includes most general city materials and services - is about $72 million. The city's capital budget for major projects is proposed to be about $123 million.

Council approves funds

for health food store

A City Council decision has Joan Haydn feeling optimistic that she will soon receive $90,000 to help upgrade a downtown building that her business - Wynant's Family Health Foods - is preparing to move into.

Councilors last week voted 5-1 to grant conditional approval of Haydn's request for Community Development Block Grant funding. The money would be used to help fix up a vacant space at Seventh and South A streets that Haydn and her daughter purchased last December.

Haydn's family has owned and operated Wynant's for 26 years. The retail outlet is now located in Pioneer Plaza.

The council directed City Manager Gino Grimaldi to make a final determination on the funding request after he reviews a formal business plan for the store.

Haydn said plans call for expanding Wynant's natural food selection at the new downtown spot, to include locally grown produce and other products not offered at the present location.

The Wynant's request is unusual because federal CDBG funding is typically awarded to nonprofit agencies seeking to offer housing and other services to low- and moderate-income people.

Councilors agreed that Wynant's will be a positive addition to downtown. One of the city's top priorities is stimulating downtown redevelopment.

Haydn said the funding would speed the relocation process, allowing Wynant's to reopen downtown by this fall.

City officials seek ideas

for 'Simpsons' video

It's time to get past d'oh and on to some really creative thinking.

Springfield officials want community members to help them come up with ideas for a video they plan to submit to 20th Century Fox as part of a contest in which the winning city will host the premiere screening of "The Simpsons Movie" in July.

The city is one of 16 Springfields nationwide that the studio has asked to participate in the unusual combination of marketing and rivalry.

All the winning city needs to do is convince Fox studio execu- tives that their Springfield is worthy of the attention that's expected to come with the highly anticipated movie's opening.

City spokesman Niel Laudati said he expects to receive official contest rules from Fox in advance of the May 24 Simpsons-centric community forum planned for the Richard E. Wildish Community Theater in downtown Springfield. Leiken will host the event.

Fox officials have said each city's video entry should highlight their community's positive aspects, and somehow link it to "The Simpsons" TV show.

"The Simpsons" was created by Portland-born Matt Groening is in its 18th season.
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Title Annotation:General News; Springfield week in review
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 17, 2007
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