Light ‘er up

Natures Coastal Holidays, the host of the popular lighting display in December, hopes to install lights in the parking lot across Old County Road from Fir Street and the Capella lot at Azalea Park in Brookings.

The board said the lack of lighting in those lots is a significant safety concern.

The nonprofit proposes to install four in the Capella parking lot and three in the lot across the street from St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church at a cost of $14,000.

Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman said he and the board also discussed the possibility of paving and installing storm drains in the Capella parking lot, which he estimates to cost $240,000.

South Coast news

The board of the South Coast Development Council met in Coos Bay last week with promising regional news.

•New listings of homes for sale rose by 4.5 percent in December 2017 over December 2016. The inventory of available homes declined from 8.2 to 6.1 since June. Inventory is determined by dividing the number of monthly listings by the number of sales that closed.

The median sales price for a residence in Brookings was $306,000, an increase of 12.3 percent over the same period in 2016 — good news for sellers, but not so good for those seeking an affordable place to live.

•Southwestern Oregon Community College President Patty Scott reported that 46 percent of college students began higher education at a community college. The college is working with Oregon State and Portland State universities to improve college transfer procedures.

•The (Coos) Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and the North Bend airport are sponsoring what has often been called “Smile School” — a program to train front-line employees how to interact with tourists, including on-site training in “what’s there to do here?” so employees can better answer visitor questions.

•A new sports park is being built in Coos Bay and includes a four-plex softball field by the Barview Area/Charleston Area Parks Association.

The concept is similar to the softball field improvement projects Brookings has been pursuing at Azalea and Bud Cross parks, including lighting for nighttime activities, Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman said.

“A major difference is that the Coos Bay project is organized primarily by the business community with local donations of equipment and materials,” he said. The Brookings project has been funded primarily with city general funds and grants, with some assistance from the local softball association.

According to a Bay Area/Charleston Area Parks Association project participant, their studies show one softball tournament can generate up to $300,000 in economic activity in the community, Milliman said.