City gets update on airport memorial

Dec. 18, 2019 — The Dec. 16 City Council meeting began with an update on the Florence Airport Memorial Gateway Project. Councilors were brought up to speed on recent developments in the process to create a fitting tribute to the aviators and other service personnel that have served during America’s military conflicts. The updated design concepts were highlighted in a 3D video shown to councilors and the few attendees at the only City Council meeting for December.

Sam Spayd is the point person for the project. He was joined by Travis Wood, who discussed the planned layout for the park, which will include a walking path and seating near the airport runways.

The seating area will allow visitors to watch the take-off and landings of aircraft at the airport and the walkway will be landscaped and follow the contours of the runways.

Wood has been working on designing the architectural aspects of the park, but he has more than a professional interest in the outcome. The design he unveiled to the council was much more elaborate than the original concept, and Wood explained the changes as a natural extension of the grounds that were available for use.

“It’s a great open space for the community’s enjoyment that honors all men and women that have served this country in times of war and peace,” Wood said. “I am also here on behalf of my late great uncle, Air Force General Ben E. King, who enjoyed the many years of his retirement flying over the beautiful skies of Florence and within walking distance of the airport.”

Spayd then explained the Wood family had not only contributed time and energy to design the gateway but had also pledged $25,000 to the estimated cost of building the memorial.

“The way we are going to fund this is through an organization called Deeds of Valor, DOV. We briefed the City Council in March of 2017 about our initial plans there and what we wanted to do with the memorial park. We changed the plans once we started working with the Woods family and I think you are really going to like the direction we are taking the park,” Spayd said. “We figure it’s going to cost us about $150,000 to $175,000 to complete the project. The main reason we are coming to you today is we are working with Public Works on a grant from Oregon State Parks and Recreation and we are going to ask for $75,000 from them and the application has to be in by February,” he said.

The request for support in completing the grant request was received positively by the council and Public Works Director Mike Miller was given the go-ahead to pursue the grant in consultation with DOV.

There were some more general topics discussed at the meeting, consisting primarily of a request from Miller for authorization of the purchase of a new Ford 4x4 pick-up truck, which he received, and the formal establishment of a Highway 101 Reimbursement District.

After a recap of the steps taken in determining the need for the special district, a public hearing was announced, which had no speakers, and the establishment of the district was ap-proved.

City Planning Director Wendy Farley Campbell next brought Ordinance No. 8, Series 2019 to the council and asked for the approval of an amendment to City Code that the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested be more aligned with the agency’s model code.

Campbell’s request was approved, as was the request from Sarah Moehrke, Community and Economic Development Assistant, to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) at a cost of $3,000. RDI will be providing consultation services and compiling business-related data for use when determining the future trends and current efforts in the local commercial sector.

City Manager Erin Reynolds’ yearly performance review was the last major item on the evening agenda, and she received positive feedback on her performance. 

After a brief discussion led by Mayor Henry, who spoke very positively about Reynolds, the council approved a payment of just over $4,000 to Reynolds PERS account, in lieu of a salary increase.

The next City Council Meeting is scheduled for Jan. 6 at City Hall.


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