Port of Quincy moving ahead on 2 community projects
The Port of Quincy recently took significant steps forward on two local projects that have been in the works for several months.
As of July 1, the port will be the new owner of the Quincy Community Center, which will be renamed the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center, said Curt Morris, port commissioner. The community center’s board has turned the building over to the port.
The port is contracting with McKinstry Co., which will conduct a study to determine what it will take to turn the community center into a state-of-the-art business facility, Morris said. The port also is looking into a grant from the state Economic Development Administration that would be used for the renovations, he added.
The port also is purchasing the former Heartland Pharmacy building, which is beside the community center. The building, owned by Dave Manning, has been vacant for several months after Shopko bought the pharmacy and opened its store last year. The board hopes to use the building in conjunction with the new conference and business center, Morris said.
The community center’s board asked the port to take over the community center last fall. Originally built as a grocery store, the community center has served a variety of functions over the years. In the 1980s, it was purchased by a nonprofit organization formed by four community service organizations. The center’s budget has been in the red for most of those years and is now in need of costly repairs, Nicole Knebel told commissioners in September.
Morris hopes to see the new facility also used as an off-site learning center for Big Bend Community College, which has expressed some interest in the idea, he said.
The port also has entered into a five-year lease agreement with Dave Bishop and Jeanne Range, owners of 87 acres of land that sits above the Columbia River near the Ancient Lakes area and Frenchmen Hills Coulee.
More than a year ago, the port and the Quincy couple entered into a purchase-and-sale agreement with a year-long due diligence period so the port could secure the $1 million needed to acquire the property. However, the port was not able to identify any grants to cover that cost.
The port would like to preserve the land and turn it into a public recreation and educational area. The property is surrounded by public lands and is a gateway to the Columbia River Gorge.
The new lease agreement, made on June 10, requires the port to pay the couple $236,125 as well as payments of $50,000 twice a year, with the first payment to be made on July 1. The agreement comes with an option to purchase the property; 80 percent of any lease payments made will be credited toward the purchase price, said Sherry Harrington, executive assistant to the port commissioners.
The lease includes a house that is on the land as well as a small vineyard and some farmland that is generating some income at this time.
Morris expects the port to hold public meetings in the future to give citizens an opportunity to comment on both projects.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com