|IN MADRAS, NEW COMMUNITY FACILITIES PROVIDE A FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE GROWTH, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT|
|, Jan 16, 2013
On January 12, 2013, the City of Madras celebrated the opening of a modern, 14,800-square-foot combined city hall-police station constructed with the help of a $2.2 million direct loan through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program.
Until now, the town of 6,000 in remote Central Oregon had crammed its nerve center operations into three small buildings with a total of only about 7,000 square feet. Located in a floodway and considered seismically unsafe, the facilities were at-risk from natural disasters in addition to being simply inadequate to effectively serve the needs of the community into the future.
Over the years, USDA Rural Development has partnered with the City of Madras and local interests to make a variety of community development projects possible, including the sewer system, an airport hangar, street improvements, the local hospital, business and economic development, homeownership opportunities and affordable rental housing. With a successful history of working together, the City came to USDA Rural Development to see what could be done to get the new city hall-police station underway.
USDA Rural Development was able to provide enough financing support for the $7.3 million project to allow the City to capture 70 percent leveraged funding for the remainder. As an added bonus, the City plans to enjoy an additional savings of nearly $728,000—more than $18,000 per year for the life of the 40-year loan—by working with USDA Rural Development to close at the historically low interest rates currently available.
The new facility is located in the heart of town on municipal property that includes outdoor public gathering space, accommodations for the local farmers market, and a previously installed, privately funded statue memorializing a local soldier who died in the service of his country.
“This new facility shows us how much ‘community’ means to the people here,” commented USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker at the grand opening. “You value those who give back and serve the public, as shown in the quality and functionality of this city hall-police station—not to mention how the City was able to incorporate the Thomas Tucker Memorial out of respect for a young soldier’s service and sacrifice.”
In addition to providing adequate council chambers and office space, the city hall portion of the building now includes space for the city, community organizations and others to hold training programs and conferences.
Upgrades to the law enforcement facility are also significant.
"The police department is an amazing improvement with good space for evidence storage, interview rooms with video equipment, training rooms and locker rooms," said Mayor Melanie Widmer. "Their offices aren't in former jail spaces anymore, so that's nice."
The design and property also include room for future expansion of both the city hall and the police station to accommodate growth, a vital consideration that will help this diverse, enterprising community keep up with projected population and employment increases expected to be among the fastest in Oregon for much of the next decade.