Downtown Arch, Quiet Zone, Splash Pad and Other City Projects Progressing

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted — but not derailed — progress on a slew of major capital projects that are in various stages of development for the city of Canby, Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber informed councilors at their most recent meeting.

Those projects include the splash pad at Maple Street Park, the downtown Canby quiet zone, the Grant Street gateway arch, the new traffic light at the entrance to Fred Meyer on Sequoia Parkway, and a major improvement project on South Ivy Street — all of which are moving forward, according to Zeiber.

Maple Street Splash Pad

The response to the design mock-ups for the city’s long-awaited splash pad were pretty, well, tepid when they were first released to the public late last year, but the project has continued to move forward in the subsequent months.

Zeiber told the council that the project was moving forward with the design that was overwhelmingly chosen by the public during a survey held in the month of January and are targeting an opening date of July Fourth.

The project will follow a nature theme in line with Canby’s rep at the “Garden Spot,” with sprayers and other elements in the shape of grass, flowers and insects.

The budget is $475,000, financed through SDC (System Development Charge) funds, which are fees paid by developers to support increased capacity to city infrastructure such as streets, sewer, stormwater and parks.

The splash pad will be built in place of the tennis courts at Maple Street Park, which are to be rebuilt at a different location during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. A covered seating area will be built between the new splash pad and the existing playground, so parents can keep an eye on their kids without getting wet, sweaty or sunburned.

Whether children will actually be able to use the splash pad once it’s operational is another matter. All playground equipment is currently closed in the city of Canby due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a few months, when the project is complete, the public health outlook could be different, and some of the strictest social distancing guidelines may be relaxed.

We certainly hope so. Everyone could use a bit of fun and sunshine, and we could certainly use an excuse to get the kids out of the dang house.

Downtown Quiet Zone Improvements

The long-debated and oft-maligned quiet zone project, which would make it so train engineers are no longer required to sound their horns at the three intersections in downtown Canby (Elm, Grant and Ivy), hit a snag earlier this year when the cost estimates crept higher than anticipated.

Initially budgeted at about $1.1 million, estimates presented by then-City Administrator Scott McClure in February put the costs at closer to $1.4. The Oregon Department of Transportation had awarded a $140,000 grant to the project, but a sizable shortfall remained.

In February, the council considered allocating some dollars from the city’s street maintenance and storm water funds toward the project to preserve more of the dwindling urban renewal funding, but ultimately decided to stay the course.

The quiet zone improvements will start at the Elm Street intersection, followed by Ivy and Grant. The work on Grant Street will likely take the longest, since it will also involve construction of the downtown gateway arch.

Construction is estimated to begin in June, with a completion date in September.

The quiet zone designation, which had to be approved by Union Pacific Railroad and other authorities, comes part and parcel with a number of safety improvements at the three intersections, such as concrete medians designed to prevent cars from driving around the arms of the railroad gates.

The quiet zone has been a topic of discussion for years, maybe even decades — exactly how long depends on who you ask — but the city’s current leadership has been pressing the issue since at least September of 2018, when they approved an engineering contract for the first round of safety improvements to make the quiet zone possible.

Downtown Canby Gateway Arch

Closely related to the quiet zone improvements is the downtown gateway arch located on Grant Street near Northwest First Avenue.

The projects were put out to bid together last month and staff are coordinating the two in conjunction as much as possible, Zeiber said, for efficiency and so the city only has to close Grant Street one time.

“If there are no further delays and we can continue to move forward, we’re probably looking at construction starting in June with a September completion,” Zeiber said.

The arch was initially pitched as one part of the city’s plan for economic revitalization, an enticing tool to draw folks off of Highway 99E and into the heart of historic downtown Canby, and that will certainly be needed in the months ahead.

The monument will come equipped with color-changing LED lighting to spotlight the pillars, arch and “Canby” sign while shining twin beacons into the sky. It was designed by Scott|Edwards Architecture and inspired by the existing downtown Canby architecture as well as the iconic Encinitas Archway in California.

Preliminary construction estimates for the project placed it at just shy of a quarter of a million dollars, but the latest estimates from Zeiber indicates its costs have also gone up, to a projected $400,000. It is being financed through urban renewal.

Fred Meyer Traffic Signal

Anyone who has visited the store recently knows the new traffic signal planned for the intersection of Sequoia and Hazel Dell at the entrance to the Fred Meyer complex is moving forward.

Construction saw slight delays at the end of March as crews with the Eugene-based Brown Contracting waited for suitable weather to finish pouring concrete for the new sidewalks. Zeiber said the signal poles are scheduled for delivery at the end of May, with operation starting in early June.

The $640,000 project is being funded by primarily by urban renewal dollars. Columbia Distributing, whose trucks are expected to use the intersection as their primary means of access to Highway 99E (until a new north outlet road is constructed), agreed to contribute 5 percent of the project’s costs.

South Ivy Street Improvements

The estimated $2.1 million improvement project on South Ivy Street that the city and county agreed to early last year is still moving forward and planned for completion in 2022.

The project will include the addition of sidewalks, ADA ramps, a bicycle lane and a new traffic signal at the intersection with Township Road near Bethany Church.

The project will also include resurfacing of South Ivy between Highway 99E and Lee Elementary School — a section of roadway that is currently under county jurisdiction.

Zeiber said the design plans for the first phase of the project have been completed and are currently under review by the Canby Public Works Department.

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