Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando said a recent move by the city to acquire a grant to upgrade the Oregon Trail kiosk in town could attract visitors. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – The city would add restrooms and other features to the Oregon Trail Kiosk on East Harrison Street if it succeeds in winning a $100,000 state grant.

The subsidy is part of Travel Oregon’s $2.3 million Competitive & Recovery Grant program and no matching money from the city is required. Travel Oregon is the state’s tourist agency.

The city recently applied for the grant to put in new restrooms, a bike rack, cycle repair stations, seating areas and a fenced dog area.

“Having an outdoor area where people can spread out and public restrooms the city public works crew maintain throughout the day, this would lessen the need for tourists to use private bathrooms in businesses, thus lessen COVID-19 exposure and spread,” the city application said.

Grant award winners will be announced April 30 and the work must be done by November.

Projects that qualify for the grant run the gamut from trail development and improvements to cycling infrastructure to garbage and waste management solutions.

“The grant is meant for cycling infrastructure but it will serve multiple areas,” said Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando.

Vialpando said the effort to acquire the grant is part of a larger, long-term plan to make Vale a destination for tourists.

“We want people to stop. We get more and more people going through here and, if they stop, it is great for our businesses,” said Vialpando.

The application included five letters of support, including one from state Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale.

“The location of the new facility would be easily accessible, as it would be located directly off the highway. The local economy would benefit from such a facility, drawing in tourists into town for shopping and dining,” Findley wrote.

Sarah Rodriguez, owner of Luzetta’s Flowers and Gifts, wrote that the “proposed cyclists repair stations would be very inviting to the many cyclists we see riding throughout our town during the summer months.”

Pattie and Logan Hamilton, former owners of Logans Market, wrote they believe the upgrade would be a “great place for travelers to stop and take a break from their travels.”

The location of the kiosk is important, said Todd Fuller, Vale city manager.

“We thought it would be a good spot because it is right near the intersection of U.S. Highway 20-26. It kind of draws people in,” said Fuller.

Vialpando said in the era of Covid, projects like the one for the kiosk are important.

“We are encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors and this is one way you can do it,” he said.

The Travel Oregon grant program proved popular, said Jaime Eder, a spokesperson for Travel Oregon.

“Travel Oregon received more than 400 applications for the Competitive & Recovery Grant Program, with a request greater than $18 million. Roughly 72 cities submitted applications for funding,” said Eder.

News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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