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Banks officials wrap up projects; look forward to more in 2012

City finishes big planning projects and starts on building improvements and solar generation

The City of Banks experienced some significant successes in 2011. The 2010 census listed the population as 1,775 people, which was an increase of nearly 300 from previous estimates.

After eight years of planning and hard work, the City of Banks finally completed Urban Growth Boundary ordinances and adopted a Transportation System Plan for Banks.

The city also adopted a Parks and Recreation Master Plan that will be approved by the state, once we clear up an appeal.

Last year, the City of Banks began to actively build the foundation for the future expansion.

We started remodeling the Banks Public Library, and we received a technical assistance grant application to the Ford Family Foundation to expand into new library space in the near future.

We started construction on building out the public works building, and in keeping with our commitment to conservation, we added solar panels to the building (See News Briefs, page 3).

We expect 100 percent of the energy needs for the building to be supplied by the solar panels. In fact, we expect to generate more energy that we need, so we will become a power supplier to PGE.

We began the process of improving the water utility infrastructure by installing additional pumping capacity, improving physical security and changing the method for chlorination.

The city also saw a significant boost in tourism-related business with the completion and opening of the Banks trailhead for the Banks/Vernonia Linear Trail. We have become a destination for bicyclists from around the county. For example, the city sponsored a rest stop for the second Beaverton, Banks and Beyond bicycle ride fund raiser.

The city continued to support National Night Out, and we had a first-ever Christmas tree lighting in December, which added to the overall sense of community. The city partnered with the Banks Chamber of Commerce to once again support the Holiday Lighting Contest awards.

An independent film company used the Banks Billiards tavern and part of Main Street for filming a movie. (Some local residents were also hired to be extras in the film.)

Banks residents approved a new operating levy to fund dedicated police services supplied by Washington County Sheriff's office. (I am personally very grateful for that.)

Finally, our city manager, Jim Hough, has decided to retire. We are in the process of recruiting a replacement.

- John Kinsky is the mayor of Banks.