SOUTH CORVALLIS INITIATIVE GOALS & PROJECTS (DRAFT)

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HYATT LYTLE

Corvallis City Councilor Ward 3


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The Living Southtown Community Initiative [this isn’t an official name yet!]

2-7-17 DRAFT Goals and Projects

Primary Themes

Access to food and basic services ∎ Diverse housing opportunities ∎ Connecting us to the rest of Corvallis, every day & during natural disasters ∎ Safe, pleasant routes for pedestrian & bike travel ∎ Places and programs that connect us socially ∎ Managing industrial uses adjacent to residential neighborhoods and the Willamette River Greenway ∎ Self-reliance and resiliency

A thriving resource-rich community meets its resident’s needs when kids, families, adults and elders can access basic services by foot, bike, bus or short car trips. South Corvallis can be a healthy and prosperous community with affordable housing options, a full-service grocery store, an urgent care center, and community gathering spaces.  Instead of traveling across town for nearly everything – South Corvallis residents can support their local economy and have more time for family and for neighbors. South Corvallis can be a place where people thrive in their community.  South Corvallis is likely to see some changes soon, there are vacant lots, housing projects breaking ground, our local school is slated to move, and new businesses have decided to take a risk in our community. There is still more to be done, and it will be more likely to happen and be done right if we unite together to share our vision for our community and advocate for new financing tools to see it happen.

#1: Increase access to food, basic services, and diverse housing opportunities

The challenge: Healthy neighborhoods include nearby access to food, basic services, a diverse mix of housing types and prices, and locations other than home or work that foster strong community connections. South Corvallis is a USDA-designated “food desert,” most services require a trip across town. New housing opportunities and places to meet socially are in short supply.

The opportunity: Emphasize a “healthy communities” approach to future development employing Smart Growth best practices. Development should be focused on greater access to food, third spaces, diverse housing opportunities, new businesses, and a mixed use commercial center that supports a growing population base.

Actions/Projects (#1):

▪ Develop a mixed-use, neighborhood-oriented commercial center that includes a grocery store, financial services, health care providers, restaurant/café, retail and office spaces for small businesses, and housing.

▪ Support the start-up and development of small, specialized food businesses (farmers market, fishmonger, bakery, butcher, food carts, etc.) that build on our community’s creativity and farm-to-table potential.

▪ Encourage the development of a diverse mix of housing types and prices, including small and affordable starter homes, transit-oriented multifamily housing, and housing that supports “aging in community.”

▪ Establish a new Urban Renewal District surrounding the “auction yard,” New Holland site, and other nearby properties, in order to provide the financial tools needed to jump-start development of the mixed-use neighborhood/commercial center and needed housing.

▪ Attract and support retail environments (such as restaurants, cafes, and art galleries) that are pedestrian-oriented and designed to support a strong sense of community. These efforts should include incentives to re-develop retail uses along SW Third Street towards a more pedestrian-oriented design.

▪ Include civic spaces in the development of the mixed-use, neighborhood-oriented commercial center. Examples include a plaza, urban park, and/or an outdoor gathering space.

▪ Develop a family/youth activity center for recreational and educational enrichment programs.

▪ Allow for free use of the Tunison Community Room for community gatherings.

#2: Increase community self-determination, self-reliance, and resiliency

The challenge: South Corvallis residents face significant risks associated with disparities of health and wealth, climate change, earthquakes, and other challenges associated

The opportunity: Support neighborhood self-determination and resiliency by growing home- based and other small businesses, creating new shared gardens, and increasing access to food and food-related businesses. Develop neighborhood-based plans that prepare us to work effectively together in case of natural disaster.

Actions/Projects:

▪ Develop a nonprofit “Food Hub” that builds on South Corvallis’ strengths as a center of food production and innovation. The Food Hub should include an emergency food storage and distribution center, food business incubation services, and a commercial kitchen.

▪ [NEEDS WORK/CLARIFICATION] Promote/finance small business and microenterprise development that strengthen neighborhood self-reliance. To enable more neighborhood scale small business and food production, the City could provide advice, incubation spaces, and small loans to encourage startups.

▪ [NEEDS WORK/CLARIFICATION] Modify City of Corvallis Land Development Codes as needed to allow neighborhood-oriented small businesses, such as small-scale food production, eating and drinking places, and repair services. The Land Development Code only permits small businesses in residential zones that do not advertise the business in a way that is visible from outside the residence.  Allowing small business in residential zones such as cafes, coffee shops, smoothie makers, waffle makers, bakeries, bicycle repair shops, sewing and alteration businesses, small appliance repair, tool cooperatives, small equipment cooperatives, and similar businesses could enhance neighborhood cohesiveness, self-sufficiency, and resilience.

▪ [NEEDS WORK/CLARIFICATION] Promote/facilitate an increase in the neighborhood-based production of food through community gardens and urban farms. A “food shed” is an approach to creating more self-sufficiency and cooperative activity for neighborhoods.  A group of nearby houses devote some space in the yards of one or more houses to group produce gardening.  Residents participate in the planning, planting, harvesting, and enjoying the produce.  The City could promote food sheds with neighborhood outreach and advice.  In addition property owners who are willing to devote land for somewhat larger scale urban farms for produce to be sold in a larger community could be supported by making appropriate zoning available.

#3: Support best practices in our Greenway

The challenge: There are industrial activities in South Corvallis located within the Willamette River Greenway and adjacent to a residential neighborhood. Because these adjacent uses conflict with one another, valued employers are constrained in their ability to invest in and grow their businesses, the adjacent neighborhood has to cope with the off-site impacts of industrial activities, and the opportunity for new connections to the Willamette River are lost.For these reasons, this location has been identified for future, non-industrial uses in the City of Corvallis’ South Corvallis Refinement Plan (1998), and Comprehensive Plan (1999).

The opportunity: Renew our commitment to working in partnership with our industrial neighbors to operate a thriving and clean business while reducing off-site impacts to residential neighborhoods and natural areas. Continue working on improved access to and along the Willamette and Marys Rivers. Use current and future planning processes (Imagine Corvallis 2040 Vision/Action plan, the Comprehensive Plan update) to study and envision a positive future for the river confluence area.

Actions/Projects:

▪ Secure easements or purchase property that allows for continuous shared-use access along the Willamette River from Willamette Park to the Marys River.

▪ [NEEDS WORK/CLARIFICATION] Formalize and support the Hollingsworth & Vose neighborhood liaison group. Focus the group on additional ways to minimize and mitigate current impacts, catalyze transition, and reduce the footprint of land dedicated to active industrial uses.

▪ Study, envision, and plan for ways the greenway can be used in its non- industrial future.

#4: Increase opportunities for safe and enjoyable bike and pedestrian travel, and improve South Corvallis’ connectivity to the rest of Corvallis

The challenge: Highway 99/SW Third Street is the sole transportation artery in and out of South Corvallis, but it’s not pleasant or safe for bike and pedestrian travel. Also, even though the Marys and Willamette Rivers are among South Corvallis’ defining assets, when the rivers flood - or when another natural disaster hits - SW Third Street is closed, access to the rest of Corvallis is blocked, and the safety of South Corvallis residents is at risk.

The opportunity: South Corvallis can become a more attractive destination for visitors, consumers, and residents alike if SW Third Street is modified to provide safer and more pleasant travel for pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and cars. Developing additional off- highway routes for pedestrians and bicyclists will also take pressure off of SW Third Street and will promote healthy alternatives to car travel. City of Corvallis and Benton County should also work with South Corvallis residents to prepare and mitigate for the impacts of flooding and other emergencies on South Corvallis.

Actions/Projects:

▪ Work with Oregon Department of Transportation and the City of Corvallis to make Highway 99-SW Third Street more attractive, safe and enjoyable for pedestrians and bicyclists. Modifications should include traffic calming infrastructure; greater separation between pedestrians, bikes, and cars; and lower speeds.

▪ Complete the installation of covered bus stops with benches, especially at busy stops along SW Third Street.

▪ Develop off-highway bicycle/pedestrian paths that connect South Corvallis to the rest of Corvallis. Complete the shared-use path being planned for connecting Willamette Park to downtown; and plan for and construct an additional shared-use path that connects neighborhoods on the west side of SW Third Street to downtown and Oregon State University.

▪ Develop emergency transportation plans to address access and safety issues when travel on SW Third Street is disrupted due to natural disasters.

 

Potential Public and Nonprofit Partners

▪ City of Corvallis

▪ Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services

▪ Benton County Health Department

▪ Community Services Consortium

▪ Samaritan Health Services

▪ Cascades West Council of Governments

▪ South Corvallis and Tunison Neighborhood Associations

Financing tools

▪ Urban renewal/tax increment financing

▪ New Market Tax Credits

▪ Community Development Block Grant

▪ Multiple federal, state, and local resources for the development of affordable housing

▪ Small business and microenterprise loans (multiple sources)

▪ USDA “food desert” related grants

▪ Public and private partner investments