As city juggles big numbers, McDaniel wants a tighter planDetailed designs.

That's what Don McDaniel wants from the city of Astoria as leaders ponder exactly what to do with the old Safeway store site.

McDaniel's comments came as Astoria City Council heard Monday night from City Manager Dan Bartlett that the cost of a civic plaza could be as high as $1,960,000. It has not been determined what percentage of the cost would be grants and what would be financed by loans, Bartlett said.

In the interim, the city plans to offer extra downtown parking at the site next to the American Legion building.

The details involve some juggling. The city is purchasing the old Safeway property for $850,000, with movement on the deal expected in May. It received a $750,000 grant from the state and sold some parcels of city-owned property around the new Safeway store for $214,000. It will net $105,000 when the sale closes next month and will use that cash to demolish the old Safeway store, perform required environmental testing and begin designing a civic plaza.

Bartlett said the city will pay an interest payment of $7,500 to the state to remain in compliance with the grant while other details fall into place.

However, McDaniel said Clatsop Community College leaders reportedly are considering a new site and have not ruled out downtown for an urban campus.

"At the meetings that were conducted at the Maritime Museum, there appeared to be a consensus that would like to see the block as a public plaza and the rest commercial or retail, professional, office or apartment buildings.

"I don't see an actual plan here. I think that you need to go out again and define these plans before any expenditure of funds is made."

His wife, Helen McDaniel, said members of the adjoining Astoria Senior Center are worried about having to pay for parking when the city takes over the site.

In other business, members heard that it may take two weeks for the Oregon Department of Transportation to put fresh stripes in the 3100 block of Marine Drive near Astoria Grooming, whose owners complained their customers' parking was taken away by the new Safeway.

Council members heard that the neighboring Northwest Education Service District was kindly providing temporary parking spaces for pet owners to ease the situation.

They also heard from Public Works Director Mitch Mitchum that land movements on the hill slope across from Safeway continue to be monitored with incremental but slight increases. No action was taken.

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