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City has plent on its plate for 2004
By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald
The city of Enumclaw may not have a project in the works as dramatic as 2003's Downtown Streetscape - which transformed the downtown core to the tune of more than $1.6 million - but that doesn't mean City Hall is in for a listless 2004.
On the contrary, there are plenty of projects in the works for the coming 12 months. Some are high-ticket items, while others are relatively modest, and some will be highly visible, where others will be worked on behind the scenes.
Here's a quick look at some of the city's major undertakings for the year.
Skate park expansion
In a move that will appeal to Enumclaw's younger set, the city will just about double the size of the existing skate park at Dwight Garrett Park.
For approximately $60,000, the city will add a host of new features to the park skateboarders have used for the past several years. Included will be a popular halfpipe. The new area will not be poured concrete; rather the city will be using a new material that is designed to hold up to both the weather and demands of skateboarders. A selling point, according to City Administrator Mark Bauer, is the new features will be removable, meaning the city could someday reconfigure that portion of the park
Warner Avenue improvements
Warner Avenue, from its intersection at state Route 410 east to Berninger Street, is now largely unimproved. That will soon change under terms of a $500,000 project.
On the north side of Warner, crews will install curbs and a sidewalk, and the existing open ditch will disappear. Instead, a drain pipe will be installed and the ditch will be filled.
Almost three-quarters of the cost will be paid through a Local Improvement District put in motion years ago. Four property owners, including the city, will contribute to the LID.
Wastewater treatment plant
The inadequacies of the city's wastewater treatment plant have, for years, kept a lid on city growth. Members of the City Council have repeatedly extended a moratorium on connections to the sewage plant, a move brought about by the plant's failure to live up to the demands of the state Department of Ecology.
The state keeps close tabs on Enumclaw, because the treatment plant discharges into the White River.
The city has, since 1995, worked on plans to improve and expand the treatment plant. Later this year, the design phase could turn to construction. Once complete, "We'll be in compliance for discharge standards," Bauer said. And the expanded plant should handle anticipated growth "for the next 15 to 20 years," he added.
The plant upgrade initially carried a price tag of $16 million, but that could climb next month, when a new set of figures is released, according to Chris Searcy, public works director for the city. The cost "will most likely go up for inflationary reasons if nothing else," he said.
The city received a significant boost in 2003 when it landed a low-interest (.5 percent) loan from the state's Public Works Trust Fund. That loan of $9.25 million will be combined with other indebtedness to pay for the treatment plant project, which will be repaid by the public in the form of utility bills.
A mile of trail
Before the year is out, a one-mile ribbon of asphalt trail should be in place, running from a spot just south of state Route 410 toward the county line. It's Enumclaw's first link in a trail system that is envisioned to connect much of the region.
The trail will be built on land owned by the city, running roughly parallel to the highway. The land at one time was home to the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks.
The trail will be for non-motorized uses only and will be built thanks to a $126,000 award from the state's Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation. The city is obligated to match that amount, but can count staff time in lieu of cash.
New signal lights
First, the city saw to a new stretch of Second Street, extending the road all the way to state Route 410. This year, Second was improved between Stevenson and Griffin Avenue. The final step will be the addition of two traffic lights, one on the highway, the other at Second and Griffin.
Searcy said the lights should arrive later this month and could be installed in February
Natural gas upgrade
Not too flashy but plenty pricey, this project is anticipated to cost $1.2 million. The Public Works Department will oversee the replacement of about 2.5 miles of transmission line that delivers natural gas to Enumclaw customers.
The project will see existing 4-inch pipe replaced with 6-inch pipe. The line to be replaced is west of the city, along state Route 164. The upgrade is necessary to guarantee Plateau residents a constant supply of natural gas, Searcy said.
A comprehensive plan is something of a Bible for city operations, and Enumclaw's version hasn't had a major overhaul for almost 10 years. "It'll be a major piece of work," Bauer said, noting that $100,000 has been set aside for updating the plan.
A survey of city residents has been concluded, which asked "a whole host of questions" about use of city services and satisfaction with those services, Searcy said. Before the comp plan update is adopted, he added, there will be a "huge public outreach." Expect to see public hearings advertised later in the year.
Kevin Hanson can be reached at email@example.com