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Rest easy, hotel still coming
Hotel going up May 22.jpg
Men were hard at work Friday afternoon on the new Hampton Inn hotel coming to Sparta Street. Despite all the economic turmoil, plans are still in place to have the hotel open this year.

Plans for a 74-room Hampton Inn hotel haven’t been put in quarantine.

Work continued last week on McMinnville’s newest hotel and retail center located across from the hospital on Sparta Street.

“I think we’re really blessed to have a hotel company committed to our area and a company that’s determined to honor its commitment to us,” said Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander. “They still have plans to be open by the end of 2020.”

Some blocks were laid last week for the hotel, which will be located at the back of the property. Several people have asked about the structure being built by the road and they have made the comment that it’s taking a funny shape for a hotel.

That because the building by the road will be a 20,000-square-foot shopping center. Initial plans called for two restaurants and two retail stores to fill that space, but those plans may have been altered since conception.

Property owner David Hunt provided a hint of what may locate there at the end of last year when he said it would be a prominent Mexican chain restaurant. He has yet to specify which chain that might be, or announce any of the other stores which may open there.

Thursday was the Industrial Development Board’s first meeting in three months. The previous two meetings were canceled due to COVID-19. Thursday’s meeting was also a first for the IDB in that it was done by Zoom.

“This is a history-making meeting because to my knowledge we’ve never had a Zoom meeting of the Industrial Development Board,” said Alexander.

Among items of business, Alexander discussed the old Rock Island mill and efforts to restore that building. The IDB is trying to obtain a grant to pay for a feasibility study to determine if the old mill can be renovated to become a conference center, an inn, or something like that.

“I certainly don’t want to see it torn down or watch it fall in,” said Alexander. “We want to do the feasibility study to learn how we can make the best use out of it.”

Some fairly elaborate planning has already taken place, to the point where redirecting the road in front of the old mill has been discussed. The building sits extremely close to the road and the area immediately surrounding it would need to be used for parking.

IDB members covered a large amount of ground in a short time, at one point even voting to buy new chairs for the conference room.

Buying two new signs for Mt. View Industrial Park was also discussed. One sign would be placed at the entrance off Manchester Highway and the other at the entrance off Old Well Road.

The two signs would be illuminated, cost in the neighborhood of $29,000, and be a tremendous upgrade. Alexander indicated the companies located at Mt. View Industrial Park have expressed a willingness to help with some of the cost.