Survey tabulated, Pathway and Revitalization plan ready for council
Electric City's Pathway and Revitalization project has been through a public input process and will soon go before the city council for adoption.
The project had three community workshops, been discussed at various council meetings, commented on through a survey, and moved forward by a community advisory group.
A team comprised of Assistant Professor Kathleen Ryan and students from Washington State University's Rural Communities Design Initiative, who gathered the information and put the plan together, submitted it to the city a couple of weeks ago.
The hottest topic of the plan is an Ice Age Floods Trail system through the city. Community members showed up in force against the trail going through residential areas during the community workshop meetings and before the council.
The WSU team took considerable heat during the community workshop period and tried to strike a middle of the road balance in its final submission.
A total of 165 survey respondents returned answers to Grant County Health District, where Tiffany Quilter tabulated the results.
When asked if they would use any of the following trails or ideas, respondents replied in the affirmative: trail to Grand Coulee, 47 percent; trail along lake/highway, 46 percent: urban trail through town, 40 percent; trail to Coulee Medical Center, 29 percent; trail from new park to Coulee Playland, 39 percent; bike lanes, 51 percent.
In answer to another trail question, 45 percent noted that they would use an Electric City trail to connect to a regional trail system.
The survey showed that 74 percent of those who responded stated that they walk for leisure or for their health; 31 percent noted that they are very active, 51 percent stated that they were fairly active.
Respondents noted the following in statements returned with their surveys:
• Security along the trail is a concern.
• We are excited about the possibility of trails, but hope that there is some sort of plan in place to address people who abuse them.
• Dangerous to walk on Highway 155 from Sunbanks area.
• Put a nature trail along the water for ALL the community to enjoy.
• Safe walking/biking trails along highway and between business/shop district.
• I think a trail would be awesome. I hear tourists in the past ask where they can bike with their children and take evening walks.
• Do not waste money on trails; clean up and improvement makes more sense.
• Would like sidewalk improvement, not trails that would raise taxes.
• Would be great to walk from the park, Safeway, to get ice cream, or to Banks Lake Pub, or show new people the town. Better to improve city for all than water trail for few.
In the community survey, the trail idea scored 30 percent when respondents were asked what were the most important: parks, trails or community issues. Parks scored 26 percent, and defining the community scored 29 percent. In another part of the survey, 44 percent noted concern about the type of trails and their location, the highest response in that section of questions.
Concerns and interest in the trails category mostly reflected all of the discussions concerning the overall Pathway plan.
The community advisory committee, made up of Jeff Piturachsatit, Clark Perman, Lynda Anderson, Cindy Greely, Lonna Bussert, Benjamin Parker, Carol Nordine, Brad Parrish, Tiffany Quilter and administrator Russ Powers, were mixed on one part of the Ice Age Floods Trail.
Bussert and Parrish were both members of the city council at the time, Quilter is from Grant County Health District, and Powers is deputy clerk for the city. Since then Parrish has resigned from the council.
That group unanimously recommended an Ice Age-themed, tourist-related trail system to include a waterfront path, Sunbanks Resort loop nature trail, and an Osborne Bay loop nature trail.
The community group further recommended that the waterfront path should have priority.
Half the group recommended both a peninsula park off Third Street, and a shoreline park parallel to Sunny Drive. The other 50 percent recommended the peninsula park only.
The WSU team listened to all the comments and came up with a plan that may not satisfy everyone, but seeks to reflect parts of most of the ideas expressed through the community meetings, comments before the council, and ideas stated through the city survey and largely supported by the community advisory group.
City officials have pointed out that the Pathway and Revitalization Plan is a 25-year plan that is subject to changes and will be accomplished as grants are available to the city.