John Day greenhouse may be headed to private managers after $122,000 loss

After losing $122,000, the city-owned greenhouse in John Day could soon be under new management. City Manager Nick Green said he plans to propose that a private corporation run the greenhouse at the Tuesday, May 10, City Council meeting. Green declined to disclose the company's name at this point but said that information would be made public at the meeting.

The greenhouse cost the city $155,000 to operate in the fiscal year 2020-21 and produced $33,000 in revenue. Green said the coronavirus pandemic put a lot of the city's plans for the greenhouse on hold, contributing to the $122,000 deficit for the fiscal year.
There are currently no plans to recover the funds lost on the greenhouse to date, but Green said the greenhouse played an integral part in securing some of the grant funding for the city’s planned $17.5 million wastewater treatment plant. “It was a proof of concept to show that we could grow hydroponic crops in the valley,” Green said. “And (as a) result of having that and having an economic value-added traded-sector industry that can benefit from the reclaimed water, we gained about $6 million in grants for the water treatment plant.”

When asked if the greenhouse is a failure, Green said he doesn’t see it that way at all. “Next month, we’ll be announcing the $3 million award for the reclaimed water system, which is going to give us all the purple pipe and the storage capability to provide water to the greenhouse, golf course, Malheur Lumber, and our parks,” he said. “I’m not counting that with the $6 million we’ve already gotten. This is $3 million on top of that.”


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