Sunday, February 25, 2024

Entiat City Council receives updates on community projects and grants

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ENTIAT – A presentation by Kara Raftery of Pacific Engineering began the regular council meeting, Thursday, Jan. 25 held at Council Chambers. The presentation spoke on updates on grants and the Community Center Feasibility Study. With the City heading into a transitional period due to the retirement of City Clerk Linda Countryman at the end of January, Raftery addressed the City’s concern that some projects may have to be put on hold. “What I did was create two different scenarios to present to you guys and moving forward you guys can pick which one of the scenarios you want to use,” she explained. Option one included a heavy grant year with funds used for the proposed community center, marina trail head and city-wide chip sealing with funding coming from the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB), and the second option showing a less ambitious grant for this year as far as applications. “Basically, instead of applying this year, we would just focus on doing design and construction of our current grants, and then go after grants next year and in 2020,” explained Raftery. Upcoming projects include:
Entiat Fire Station Park – With design anticipated to begin in June, the City has already received over $500,000 in grants for this project.
Lakeshore Drive Trail – “The project grew over the course of the design,” explained Raftery, “so we will be looking to TIB for an increase in project funds, so it would only increase the City’s match by about $3,000.”  If everything is approved, bidding is expected to go out in February with construction starting in the early spring.
Marina – Permit is in for review and anticipated to come through in early spring. Raftery stated she will be reapplying for funds through Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) in May.
City-wide chip seal – This project was applied for last year, but were beat out by larger projects. The grant will be reapplied for this year, and if approved, will get the City approximately $120,000 for chip sealing in the city streets.
Cammack and Owen – The “biggest street project going on,” Raftery expressed. The project has increased due to some requests from the City to include a water line, and to increase the roadway width. “So, we’re also going to go to TIB to request an increase for that project,” she added, “we have already done 90 percent, so we’ll have a couple weeks out to do that design revision and resubmit for review, and hopefully still go out to bid in February with an early spring construction and get that road paved.”
“As far as some outgoing writing and things like that,” Councilman John Alt stated, “we got some fiduciary challenges ahead of us … some of these projects, for instance if we needed to ask for a grant or look for a grant and it’s only every two years and it has to be done by like the end of February or March, that would be considered a time critical type of situation, or an essential service,” he explained, adding, “we’ve got a transition obviously with Linda retiring and some other moving pieces to come together (still) in our administrative and finance department over the next couple months, so there may some consideration on setting some non-essential projects on freeze for the next 30 days or so. Just until the dust settles.” Raftery expressed her understanding on the situation, suggesting that Entiat Fire Station Park, Lakeshore Drive Trail, Cammack Street and the Entiat Way Well projects remain in motion. “These are the projects that I have determined that you should not put on hold, that we should focus on,” she emphasized, “if everything else had to be put on hold, even for a year, that would be okay, but I would recommend continuing with those projects just because of where we are at in the grant application or the design phase, that it would be beneficial for the City to just continue with those.”
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) award for the community center feasibility study will be closed out in February, explained Raftery, “this is the first step toward planning the community center,” she explained, “this is a stepping stone which shows the city’s costs and options … it’s not set in stone.” The feasibility study will help in producing the ideas for the center and “realize our vision for what we can expect with the community center,” she stated, “(this) will be used as a supporting document in our construction grant that we are planning to go after in June as well.” The proposed community center building was set as a priority in the 2009 comprehensive plan, according to the executive summary within the report, “City of Entiat leadership has established that many of the City’s buildings are functionally inadequate and justify the need to improve, upgrade or replace the City-owned facilities,” the report stated. Studies on the current functionality of four of the City’s primary buildings (City Administrative Services, Senior Citizen Center, Library and Public Works buildings) showed that well the Public Works building is “close to meeting their functional needs” and has no immediate need for relocation, the remaining three buildings are in dire need of restructuring. Due to the overlap in shared customers and similar need in facilities, it was determined that the City Administrative Services, Senior Citizen Center and Library would be most functional and efficiently in a shared building. “With shared facilities, common location and a collaborative approach to providing services, it also creates a synergy, economies of scale and a focal point for the community,” as explained feasibility study report. Cost for the new infrastructure is estimated just over $4 million, but there are many grant and loan options explained Raftery.  
Prior to concluding the meeting, councilmembers held a public hearing on the proposed change to the City of Entiat Zoning Use Chart in regard to the allowance of mini-storage facilities in the Highway Commercial Zone. The change would eliminate the allowance of the mini-storages which were permitted via a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), and would not be permitted in the Highway Commercial Zone at all, as well as the redefinition of mini-storage. The motion was passed with no comment from the public, effectively changing the code to disallow mini-storage facilities in that zone.
The councilmembers also approved an agreement with Reserve America for park reservations. The software allows an individual from anywhere to select and reserve a site Entiat City Park.
Concluding the night’s agenda, Mayor Keith Vradenburg took the opportunity to present a plaque to City Clerk Linda Countryman in appreciation for all her hard work in her time with the City of Entiat. Countryman will be retiring the end of January.
Entiat City Council meets every second Thursday of month at 7 p.m., and every fourth Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at Council Chambers. The next scheduled meeting will take place, Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.

Entiat, council, projects, grants, Pacific Engineering, meetings

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