GRANTS PASS – The quarterly Grants Pass Merchants Meeting covered a full agenda of guest speakers and important updates on city topics pertinent to local business. The meeting was conducted by Jon Bowen of Experience Grants Pass at City Council Chambers Tuesday, Oct. 1
Bowen introduced a variety of guest speakers to the gathered assembly of business owners and community partners. Tamra Martin, Josephine County Fairgrounds and Event Manager introduced herself, and expressed her willingness to meet with local merchants to discuss ways the fairgrounds could work with local merchants. Landscape architect James Love spoke about working with Parks and Community Development to further beautify downtown through proper landscaping and additional public art. Love said that unique and beautified locations promote visitors to create and engage in social media, which also helps promote tourism.
City of Grants Pass Information Coordinator Steven Sabel introduced himself and explained some details about his duties, including maintaining open channels of communication with community partners, and providing important details about city services to the public.
Sue Densmore of the Friends of the Oregon Caves shared some information about the restoration and renovation of the Oregon Caves and Chateau, including an extensive project aimed at the restoration and preservation of more than 400 pieces of Monterey furniture in the chateau’s collection.
Public Safety Chief Warren Hensman provided an update on crime and safety. Hensman said the area recently received federal designation as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which will open up additional federal resources to assist with drug enforcement. He provided an update on the progress of the new Public Safety Building, and said he hoped to occupy the building in time for Christmas.
“Some things can always happen along the way in construction, but we are trying to be good stewards of the city’s resources and stay within budget,” said Hensman.
Hensman also provided an update on the hiring of three new police cadets. He said they were all now in the training process and would be ready to begin foot patrols of the downtown area in the next couple of weeks. With regards to a general crime report, he said property crimes have reduced, and violent crimes remain at a consistent level. Sobering and mental health lodgings have increased, he said.
Director of Parks and Community Development Lora Glover said now was the time for merchant partners to start thinking about contributing to the city’s strategic planning process. Glover said the city’s urban renewal dollars for second story building renovations are running low. City staff and council members are seeking input from the community about considerations for renewing the program.
Glover also provided an update on the city’s Downtown Parking Task Force, including information about the application process for obtaining a grant from Pacific Power to install new vehicle charging stations in downtown.
“We want to bring those people into downtown so they can enjoy our restaurants and shops while they charge their vehicle,” she said.
Additional parking updates included results of an informal survey of downtown businesses regarding the recommendation to maintain 3-hour parking restrictions on downtown streets during the holiday season. That recommendation will soon go to the city council for a vote.
Bowen provided an update on coming city events. The famous Art Along The Rogue Event will open with a First Fridays concert featuring a Led Zeppelin tribute band Friday, Oct. 4, followed a full weekend of events.
Safe Halloween will be conducted downtown Thursday, Oct. 31. Merchants should plan to have plenty of candy, said Bowen.
“Attendance has been growing each year,” he said.
Shop, Dine, Win returns to Grants Pass Nov. 22 through Dec. 21. The annual Tree Lighting ceremony will take place Friday, Nov. 29, featuring a 40’ tree selected for the event, said Bowen. The Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 7. Commercial float entries are $40. Civic groups, churches, and schools can enter a float at a discounted rate. For additional information contact Travel Grants Pass, (541)476-7574.