The City of Wilsonville is accepting online project nominations from the public until Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, for the new Wilsonville-Metro Community Enhancement Program. This just-launched program offers Wilsonville residents and workers an opportunity to consider and fund a wide range of projects that benefit the community. To submit a community enhancement project for consideration, go online to www.ci.Wilsonville.or.us/CommunityEnhancementProject.
Funds collected under the Community Enhancement Program are used for “enhancing the host community of the facility from which the fees have been collected” to fund projects that “rehabilitate and enhance the area within the city.” Eligible projects can improve the appearance or environmental quality of the community, increase reuse and recycling opportunities or improve recreational areas and programs.
Project nominations will be reviewed by City staff in February and forwarded for consideration in March by the new Wilsonville-Metro Community Enhancement Committee, which is composed of four community members, two City Council members and Metro District Three Councilor Craig Dirksen. The committee members are expected to be appointed by Mayor Tim Knapp and confirmed by City Council in January 2016.
Funded by a per-ton charge on biodegradable solid-waste, the Community Enhancement Program was extended by Metro regional government effective July 2015 to cover all cities with a waste-transfer facility, including the Willamette Resources Inc. facility operated by Republic Services in Wilsonville. Metro estimates that about $70,000 per year in community enhancement funds would be available to Wilsonville; current trends and potential changes in the Metro solid-waste franchise disposal program over the next few years may result in increased volumes being transferred that eventually yield $100,000 per year of enhancement funds. Funds may be used immediately on smaller projects or accumulated for up to three years to underwrite a larger project.
Goals for community enhancement projects can include:• Improve the appearance or environmental quality of the community.• Reduce the amount or toxicity of waste and increase reuse and recycling opportunities.• Upgrade property owned or operated by a nonprofit organization.• Preserve or enhance wildlife habitat, riparian zones, wetlands, forest lands, and/or improve the public awareness and access.• Expand community recreational areas and programs.• Benefit youth, seniors, low-income persons or underserved populations.
Examples of community enhancement projects cited by Metro include:• Expansion of recycling programs.• Development of community gardens.• Newell Creek Canyon environmental restoration.• Downtown improvements in Oregon City.• Solar-powered trash compactors and public art in Forest Grove.• Construction of the North Portland Greenway Trail.
City staff estimate that the committee will meet once or twice in the first quarter of 2016 to review and prioritize for implementation nominated community enhancement projects.