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On sidewalks, streets, and petitions

Letter to the Editor

 


Most of the Town was built over 80 years ago and we can’t expect that the infrastructure will last forever… and that includes our sidewalks. So for now, let’s skip the myriad of other issues/problems and let’s look at our sidewalks. At first, the Town just presumed that each of us “homeowner’s” would be required to individually repair the (their) sidewalks – and that was (and still is) a requirement of state statutes (laws). However, as is usually the case, assumptions and perceptions are usually interpreted as a requirement for someone else! And, in 1991, we found a solution – let’s pass a new local law such that the “Town” should pay for these sidewalks repair. In the end, neither the individual homeowner nor the town could keep up with repair requirements.

We are aware of the issues and problems and risks… AND we have a lot of solutions and even more “opinions.” The town isn’t sleeping through a resolution – the town has an on-going and proactive program. Just consider that Mayor Snow put a lot of time and political effort to fund a number of grants, for the issue. If you consider the past ten years, Snow’s administration garnered over $500,000 (the value of about $74,000 per year) just to deal with sidewalks. And given all of those naysayers and opinions, there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

In one way or another, most of us organize our wants and needs for our budget priorities. For my way of thinking, I tend to view funding and projects from a holistic paradigm. As an example, over the past few years we have been working and refining a phased comprehensive plan & design for a managed project that includes sidewalks, streets, curbs, storm drainage, plowing/sweeping designs, traffic calming, intersection realignments, ADA (handicap) mitigations, street lighting, safe crosswalks, etc. We need more remediation than just sidewalks. AND given this approach, the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) just announced that they awarded Coulee Dam $794,566 for an $836,385 project. If you are aware of small city/town street/sidewalk project grants, you will note that this is very significant grant… compare, if you wish. And while we are working for other grant-funded projects, we hope that the Town Council will approve a comprehensive Local Improve District (LID) or some other such instrument… adding a new household tax of between $8.50 and $10.00 (depending on bond rates & costs) per month for each over the next ten years. Done in this approach, we can accomplish this comprehensive sidewalk program in a year or two.

AND, in spite of our squabbles, we will reinvent to accommodate!

 

Thank you and in service,

F. Gregory Wilder,

Mayor, Town of

Coulee Dam

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