The Star - News, views and advertising of the Grand Coulee Dam Area

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

Gayle Swagerty seeks seamless transition


Gayle Swagerty

Coulee Dam Councilmember Gayle Swagerty says Coulee Dam is making a lot of good progress and she has the most experience to carry it forward as mayor after current Mayor Greg Wilder steps down at the end of his term in January.

"I really care for this town," she said last week. "I know how to take the town forward in the future."

Swagerty, who was elected to the town council and began serving in 2014 along with Wilder, points to her increased involvement with oversight of some important projects both ongoing and coming up.

Noting that a transformer recently failed nearby, Swagerty said the town's electrical utility will need attention in the not distant future. Its trees, an asset she has spoken about frequently, need serious attention, especially along Fiddle Creek, which presented a serious fire hazard during wildfires a few years ago. The town's new wastewater treatment plant is now under construction and will need the guidance of someone familiar with the project, she says. And the town's sidewalks also need serious attention, a need for which she has been working alongside Wilder to seek grant funding.

"I feel like I'm the one who can make a seamless transition," she said.

She pointed out that she has brought in the Foster Creek Conservation District, which has promised to help find funding to clean up dangerous overgrowth in Fiddle Creek, on the town's west side. She said she and Fire Chief Bryan Warnecke walked the creek identifying hazards in the wild area running through the town, where a fallen tree caused a town-wide power outage last Fourth of July as she watched from her yard across the sidewalk.

Swagerty said she's worked hard to learn the issues and the nuances of running the small town.

"The moment I filed for council I started attending every council meeting," she said. "I've been intimately involved ever since then."

Swagerty said fixing the sidewalks has to be a high priority for the town in the near term, but she feels strongly the town needs to define a vision and priorities, then plan with those in mind.

"So many times we just want to spend money on an appealing project," she said, but those decisions should be asked in the context of the overall vision for where the town wants to be in the future.

She's pleased with the quality work of a planning intern recruited through Eastern Washington University to help renew the town's comprehensive plan and she's anxious to dive into that project and define a "stronger vision for our town."

You might be interested in:

Reader Comments