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Open house offers visions of waterfront

Waterfront Redevelopment Project open house is Wednesday, April 27, starting at 5:30 p.m.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Members of the St. Helens Waterfront Redevelopment Project advisory committee create mock-up designs in February of what they want to see on the former Boise Cascade veneer plant property the city now owns. Three of those streamlined designs will be on display during next week's open house.After months of planning, St. Helens residents will be able to visualize what redevelopment of the city’s waterfront could look like, and will be asked to provide feedback.

The city of St. Helens is scheduled to host an open house Wednesday, April 27, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Columbia River Receptions & Events at Meriwether Place, 1070 Columbia Blvd.

Several design concepts will be displayed during the open house, including a variety of entertainment venues, parks, walking trails, mixed-used buildings, and other facilities that could potentially be built in the area.

A formal presentation at 6 p.m. will offer a review of the redevelopment timeline and summarize what the committee has been working on during the planning process.

Members of the Waterfront Redevelopment Project advisory committee, a group of City Council members, city staff, public stakeholders, city residents and city-contracted consultants, have been meeting regularly to create a master plan for how to transform the 200-acre area that previously housed the Boise Cascade veneer plant.

“I think it just moves us down the road. It’s all part of the longer-term plan and making progress on the site,” said Seth Otto, a design consultant with Maul Foster Alongi, a Vancouver, Wash., firm. “What they’re doing right now is understanding what improvements and changes need to be made on the site and make sure the community is on board.”

Meeting attendees will also be asked to give input and feedback on the proposed framework plan for the waterfront. A framework plan is a outline of roads, open spaces, and potential blocks of spaces for public use, Otto explained. Framework plans are then used to create “demonstration plans.”

Demonstration plans provide a more illustrative overview of how individual blocks of spaces could later be transformed through development partnerships, Otto said.

“The thing is, without a user waiting in the wings, we have to keep an open mind,” Otto said. “It’s the skeleton that will be fleshed out though private development partnerships.”

Wednesday’s open house will give residents an opportunity to be a partner in the development process, Otto said.