Scandinavians may finally get their monument.
The Astoria City Council gave permission Monday night to the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association to design a monument at Peoples Park downtown. The monument has been in the works for the past few years, but city concerns about maintenance costs slowed the project.
The heritage association will get help from the Astoria Rotary Club to maintain the park, limiting the city’s expense to about $4,500 a year.
The final design of the monument will be reviewed by the Historic Landmarks Commission and the City Council. The park, off Marine Drive between 15th and 16th streets, will be renamed Scandinavian Heritage Park.
“I say give the Scandinavians the park,” City Councilor Zetty Nemlowill said to cheers from Scandinavians who filled City Hall.
Many in the audience wore traditional sweaters and garb — a few sported viking helmets — and waved small flags from Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Scandinavians had initially wanted to make progress on the monument by the 50th anniversary of the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival last June. Some were disappointed, given their rich history in Astoria, that the project was held up over maintenance.
The heritage association will be responsible for design and construction, as well as maintenance.
“I’m glad we got this far,” said Loran Mathews, the president of the heritage association.
The City Council voted 4-1 for the agreement with the heritage association. City Councilor Cindy Price was the sole “no” vote, citing persistent complaints from the public about the lack of maintenance at city parks and the city-owned Ocean View Cemetery in Warrenton.
“Until we have full funding for the parks department, it’s just not something that in good conscience I can vote for,” Price said.