While not making any final decisions Wednesday morning, the Astoria city council in a special session gave city manager Brett Estes further direction on the disposition of four city-owned properties preliminarily targeted for possible sale.
The four were identified by the council as Tidal Rock, First Post Office Park, U.S. Custom House Recreation and Birch BallField.
Of those four, the council reached consensus on gathering more information on Birch Ballfield in Alderbrook with the possibility of dropping its designation as a city park and offering the property for sale for homebuilders.
It's important to state that the sale isn't a done deal and council will weight public opinion if they decide to proceed with a formal hearing regarding dropping the city park designation.
Regarding the other three properties, the council discussed the possibility of moving the U.S. Customs House recreation from it's current location and took a staff recommendation to pursue conversations with Fort George and Paul Caruana of the Astor building to see if they would be interested in acquiring the small parcel of land where the historic tidal rock resides below street level on Commercial between those businesses. The council had already agreed to allow a grant funded temporary art project to occupy the space over the next year.
The city also has an agreement with a property owner located adjacent to the site that pays tribute to the first U.S Post Office west of the Rockies established on that property. While the building no longer exists, a memorial is located in the middle of that small plot of land and because the land is designated historic it must stay in city hands.
The council reached the consensus that overall the sale of these properties takes a low priority compared to the effort that will be going into the established council goals for the fiscal year.