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2014 brings many new projects to Redmond

By Katie Higgins
Published On: Jan 09 2014 08:37:33 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Katie Higgins found out what's in store this year for Redmond at a talk by city leaders.

REDMOND, Ore. -

The Redmond Rotary Club heard Thursday from city leaders about what's in store for the city in 2014.

The meeting focused on new and continued projects for 2014. City leaders talked about goals for the city. One in particular, economic development, was a common theme throughout almost every project.

"I think we're seeing a lot of things happen here in Redmond, and I think in my mind there are a lot more coming this year," said Jon Stark with Redmond Economic Development.

Bringing more people to Redmond is a major focus, whether it be to live, work or shop.

"I think you'll see the population numbers start to change," Stark said.

There are a few reasons for this, the first being the rezoning of 465 acres of city-owned land for industrial lots. That could bring plenty of new jobs.
   
"It's really about firms that create well-paying jobs that need that kind of space," Stark said.

As the city decides how to fill that space, the urban renewal project will work to fill vacant storefronts downtown, a project city leaders say should continue successfully from 2013.
  
"I saw two vacant storefronts, but six months ago I probably saw 10," Mayor George Endicott said.

More retail means more money and possibly, more passers-by from the rerouted Highway 97. This is yet another project among the 2014 city council goals.

"See if there's some ways that we can make a win-win out of this, and ODOT is happy, but so are we. We can find some ways to help those businesses out," Endicott said.

Landscaping along the highway and creating easy access are ways to attract visitors and the cash flow that follows.

Plus, with the help of recent vote-approved room tax dollars, the city (and Deschutes County) will be trying to bring more events to the fairgrounds. An all-summer weekend "street fair" at the fairgrounds already is being marketed around the region.

City Manager Keith Witcosky said, "We're a 'company' of about 150 people, with a budget of $88 million a year, and there's a lot of exciting stuff that's going to continue from 2013 into 2014."

Among other Redmond projects in the works for 2014: a parks initiative and possibly deciding whether to move City hall into the old Evergreen School building.

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