PDC to consider restaurant bailout plan

By on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – The Pendleton Development Commission holds a special meeting tonight (Tuesday) at 6:30 and keeping local restaurants from closing tops the agenda. The Chamber of Commerce is proposing using urban renewal money and city funds to create a grant program that would help the eateries stay in business during the closures due to the pandemic.

PDC Associate Director Charles Denight said that he’s being asked why the plan is only for eateries.

“They are a major magnet now in our downtown and we’ve always been focused on our downtown as an investment from urban renewal,” Denight said. “Urban renewal was meant to basically revive and save our downtown and make it really successful.”

Denight said a recent survey of why people visit for downtown is for dining and entertainment.

“So we need to save the restaurants, and that’s the reason we’re focused on them,” Denight said. “The other reason we’re focused on them is because they have been shut down practically.”

The chamber’s original proposal was to use urban renewal dollars to save the restaurants in the downtown area. However, the PDC asked for the plan to be expanded to include restaurants outside the urban renewal district as well.

Also on the agenda for the special meeting is the proposal to create a grant for existing businesses to make improvements to the first-floor establishments. Currently, PDC grants only cover façade improvements and second-story projects.

Photo: The Pendleton City Council, whose chambers are pictured, serves as the Pendleton Development Commission for the urban renewal district.