CHELAN – Agenda items for Council, Tuesday, Feb. 13, included a mixture of consent items and presentations.
Beginning the night’s agenda, Mayor Mike Cooney announced the appointments of Barb Koenig to the Library Advisory Board and Tara Lautiki to the Parks and Recreation Board, as well as proclaiming Feb. 27 as World Spay Day, which will fall on a Tuesday this year.
World Spay Day is intended to bring awareness to the dire need of reducing the presence of homeless animals. “This is part of my work that I do with the Humane Society of the United States,” City Clerk Peri Gallucci began, “as a district leader volunteer, we really try and do a lot of work for spay/neuter clinics, so it’s near and dear to my heart because I believe that we can’t rescue our way out of things, so I think that the more animals that we spay and neuter, the less that go into the shelters.” In 2017, Wenatchee Valley Humane Society boasted a live release rate of 90 percent, and sheltered 4,543 animals. Of those sheltered, Gallucci announced that 2,954 were adopted, “which is a five percent increase from 2016.” Looking ahead, the Humane Society will be sponsoring its third annual Spay-ghetti and No Balls fundraiser June 3 at Blueberry Hills. “For those who don’t know it,” Mayor Cooney stated, “if there’s a lose animal anywhere downtown, Peri (Gallucci) goes running out the door, gets it and brings it into the office,” then on a serious note, expressed to Gallucci, “I think it’s really special, and your passion for this is really special.” In reading of the proclamation, Cooney calls “upon the people of Chelan to observe the day by having their own pets spayed or neutered, or by sponsoring the spaying or neutering of a pet in need.”
In the final administrative report for the night, City Engineer Jake Youngren and SCJ Alliance’s Dan Ireland updated councilmembers and city staff on progress made with the Woodin Avenue Bridge restoration project with the 90 percent design review. “The last time we were here with council was at the 60 percent design level,” Youngren communicated, “and now we’re hitting our 90 percent level.”
Ireland began by displaying excitement at the progress made so far, “we’re getting really close, weather is getting warmer and there’s a smell of construction season coming near and to us.” He began with an overview of topics to be discussed, including funding sources for the project and efforts that will be made to minimize disruption in the community from work on the transformation of the bridge. “This is a balanced solution project,” Ireland emphasized, “this is where we are taking a lot of different things and doing them at the same time, it’s not just a traffic project, it’s not just a safety project, there’s a lot of other things.” The bridge, which is currently open to traffic in both directions, will be reconstructed into a one-way road with southbound access only. The bridge will also be restored, updated and revamped during this time, as well as walking points on and around Columbia Street and Woodin Avenue. “The goal,” Ireland pointed out, “is to try and do all of these things without disturbing any of our citizens, businesses, and recreational and seasonal traffic.”
In project funding, the addition of the $250,000 grant from Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) is an exciting addition to the project, said Ireland. “We had a strategy and by golly we got it,” he emphasized. With different funding options, such as city funding and federal funding, there are obstacles that arise with the use of a mixture of financial sources. Some of the funding comes with required conditions that conflict with other funding sources, explained Ireland. “What we had to do was get our potential funding partners together and talked it out,” he said, “sometimes what you have to do is bring everyone together to the same conclusion.” This same conclusion results in what is referred to a tied bid method, which allows the combination of projects “that have independent environmental permitting processes into one construction project,” as explained in the presentation provided by Ireland. The financial breakdown of the funding would utilize federal funding on the restoration project, city funding on the water project and TIB grant funding on the one-way portion of the project, allowing a single contractor for the project.
During construction, Ireland stressed the effort being put in to eliminate all unnecessary surprises and disruptions during the project. Right from the beginning of construction, the bridge will go to a one-way configuration and will remain that way, he stated, then vocalized that every effort will be made to accommodate the citizens of Chelan, however safety will be the priority during the restoration and construction times.
Phase one is anticipated to include some bridge closures on either end due to excavation limits in the bridge preparation, scaffolding and water line work of the project, although a minimum of two bays will be open to boats at all times during this phase. During the second phase of construction, short-term closures for concrete pouring should be expected, with work on the restoration, sidewalk, railing and lights on the south end of the bridge and water line connections. Third Street is anticipated to be closed during this phase, Ireland advised. Phase three will result in some short-term closures during concrete pouring when working on the curb and sidewalk sections of E. Columbia Street, moving into phase four which will focus on the west side of Columbia Street. The fifth, and final, phase of the project are anticipated with more short-term closures for grinding and paving as the crews work on the Woodin Avenue median curbing and sidewalk, asphalt grinding, crosswalks and landscaping.
Chelan councilmembers and staff convene every second and fourth Tuesday at City Hall, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The next council meeting will take place Tuesday, Feb. 27.
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