We could not agree more with the East Oregonian’s recent editorial that the river corridor needs a smart approach (River corridor needs smart development, April 1).

The good news is a thoughtful plan is already in place, thanks to hundreds of Pendleton residents who worked over the last nine years to create it.

Reinvigorating an area takes time and a variety of tools to encourage development, clean-up and improvements that benefit the community. The PDC grant is just one of many ways to draw attention to the area and spur investment.

Applicants must meet numerous standards before they are eligible to receive grant funds. Proposed buildings are encouraged to be mixed-use (have both business and residential space). Pre-design meetings must be held with the city before construction begins. The applicant must pay for the entire project up front. Applicants apply for the grant before the building is completed and are not eligible to receive it until it is completed and an occupancy permit is issued. The most the applicant can receive is 20 percent of the building cost or $100,000, whichever is less.

Requiring the applicant to pay for the project with private funds encourages responsible use of public dollars. Private dollars first, then public dollars.

The grant is just one component of the river quarter plan. The Riverfront Plaza gave a real shot in the arm to our town and is a popular improvement with tourists and locals alike.

Amy Bedford led the charge to establish the River Parkway many years ago. It is now a beautiful asset to the community. We must carry on with activities that will encourage community enjoyment of the river -— a principle she championed.

— Gene Hallman, John McBee and Dan Ceniga.

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