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Arch may be rebuilt by end of the year

By Jessica Keller, The Courier-Herald

The rebuilding of the Wilkeson Arch has been a long time coming, but if all goes well, the project may be completed before the year is out.

The Town Council recently awarded the bid for Arch construction to C.A. Carey Corp. of Issaquah for $114, 268. Gray and Osborne engineering company is managing the project for the construction.

Gray & Osborne project manager Kevin Brown said preliminary work should begin by the end of the week. Actual work will begin next week when the still-standing Arch pillar is taken down block by block; each block will be labeled, so they can be reinstalled at the new location. At the same time, a crew will be sorting through the brick of the damaged Arch pillar that was taken down, and based on historical pictures, coming up with a reproduction that looks like the original. Also at that time, workers will be preparing the concrete foundation.

After that work is completed workers will reinstall the existing blocks and rebuild the other pillar at the new Hill Street location. The project will be finished after workers suspend the log and sign from the pillars.

Brown said contractors have been given 60 calendar days to complete the project and, if the weather cooperates, it could be finished by the end of the year.

Mayor Doug Paulson, the Arch project manager for the town, said he expects things to move pretty fast if everything goes smoothly.

"I think we're past all the hurdles," he said. "I think it's pretty much a done deal."

While many town residents have pushed for the Arch to be rebuilt, many don't approve of the current Hill Street location and would have it rebuilt at its original site.

"There are a lot of people that are not happy about it," Paulson said, "but three people voted to put it there." Paulson was among those disagreeing with the decision, but will follow the will of the council.

"I will follow through (with the project) and build it, but I don't support the location," he said.

Paulson also doesn't know if the site can be contested this late in the project. Some candidates who were running for election in Wilkeson during yesterday's election are in favor of rebuilding the Arch at the original site. It is unclear whether, if elected, they could revisit the previous decision and change the location site. Paulson said even if that option was available, it might cost more money to do so, or stall the project even longer.

Jessica Keller can be reached at jkeller@courierherald.com

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