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Different kind of meeting lets Electric City engage with citizens

 

Last updated 2/10/2021 at 7:33am



A meeting held by the city of Electric City on Jan. 23 to engage with its citizens and get their input on various issues was a success, the mayor says. 

“We had a pretty good event,” Mayor Diane Kohout later told The Star.

People representing the city included Kohout, herself, Councilmember Cheryl Hoffman, Planning Commissioners Al Miller and Ian Turner, City Engineer Steve Nelson of Century West, and Public Works Director Jared Armstrong.

“We all felt it was a good start to bring our residents information about potential projects and needs,” Kohout said. “The event was well received by those who stopped by. I’m ready to do more.”

Kohout said she felt the event helped fulfill the campaign promise, which she and council members ran on in the 2019 election, that the government would communicate more with its citizens.

Kohout said that 35 people physically signed into the event, which suggests that more may have attended who didn’t sign in. 

Following the event, the city received roughly 35 comments — on comment cards, via email, or delivered to city hall — concerning various city issues.

Those comments were included in the city’s Feb. 9 council meeting agenda packet. 

Organized by category, the comments addressed topics such as the city replacing its main sewer line, street projects, a proposed pedestrian pathway connecting the Coulee Playland area to Banks Lake Park, potential speed limit changes, and more. 

On changing the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph along Coulee Boulevard through the main part of town, and from 45 to 35 mph between Electric City and Grand Coulee, several comments supported the idea, while several others opposed it.

Two comments expressed excitement that lowering the speed limit between Electric City and Grand Coulee would allow all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to travel between the two towns, while another comment was against that altogether.

“Keep at 45! No ATVs!” that comment reads.

Most comments expressed support for a pedestrian pathway from Coulee Playland north toward Banks Lake Park, although some expressed concern for ploughing the pathway in the winter.

One person said that a pathway, being on the other side of the guardrail, would make pedestrians safer and would negate the need to lower the speed limit to 35 mph along that stretch. 

On adjusting Western and Lakeview Avenues to 90-degree angles in their connection to Coulee Boulevard/SR-155, most comments supported the idea, with those streets currently connecting to the highway at somewhat unusual angles. 

Concerning fixing the city’s main sewer lines, the comments were overwhelmingly in support of doing so, with several comments pointing out the necessity of doing so. 

A longer comment signed by Marilyn Bastian expressed concern over building a park, arguing that parks attract people who do drugs, people parking in front of neighboring homes, heightened noise levels, and attract stray dogs. 

Bastian also expressed not wanting trails that go near homes, saying that you don’t know who is on the trails, that they can make it harder to sell a home, and more.

Another longer comment expressed, among other topics, the growing deer population with the writer saying that the deer eat flowers, kill trees, and cause messes. 

“I’d like to know how we can encourage the deer to go some where else,” the person writes. “I don’t want them killed or anything.”

The comments and the event were discussed at the meeting. 

Nelson, giving an engineers update, said that public comments suggesting a sidewalk be built on the north side of SR-155 along Coulee Boulevard, rather than the south side, made sense to him and should be considered. 

Hoffman said she met a lot of new people at the event and that in talking with attendees, they felt that their questions had been answered, whether they liked the answers or not.

Councilmember Willy Bott said that, in looking at the comments, all sides of issues were expressed.

“Some want this and some want that,” he said, adding that it makes for “quite a decision to figure out which way to go.”

Kohout reiterated that the event was a success and helped make the government visible to the people. She wants to hold more public events like it.

“I thought it was actually a fun day and look forward to doing more,” she said.

 

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