Garrett Street LID plans scrapped

Bowing to pressure from a group of Garrett Street businessmen, members of the Enumclaw City Council have scrapped plans for immediate formation of a Local Improvement District – but that doesn’t mean the issue will go away entirely.

The city has long sought to upgrade a section of Garrett Street north of Griffin Avenue, improve the road surface while adding curbs and sidewalks and improving drainage. The suggested funding mechanism was an LID, which assesses property owners a portion of the cost, based on the amount of land fronting on Garrett Street.

Spurring the project was a grant from the state’s Transportation Improvement Board that would have picked up 80 percent of the tab.

When the issue was raised during a July 27 hearing, business owners made it crystal clear they were opposed to the LID.

When they next met Aug. 10, council members heeded the suggestion of Public Works Director Chris Searcy and put a halt to the LID talk – for now.

The council authorized continuation of the planning process and approved taking money from a Public Works Department fund to pay for it. Garrett Street landowners will not pay for the ongoing planning.

Following the July 27 hearing, Searcy met with many of the impacted property owners to answer questions and address concerns. He said the Garrett Street business community will be a part of the ongoing discussion and planning process, adding that the city remains committed to the project.

“It has always been the city’s intent to have construction going in 2010,” he said.

Searcy added that the Garrett Street project will be part of his department’s 2010 budget, but he will be looking for alternative funding packages.

In other action during their Aug. 10 meeting, council members:

• heard the results of a survey conducted during the three-day run of Enumclaw’s King County Fair.

The survey was conducted by Ashley Hardesty and Amanda King, seniors at Washington State University majoring in organizational communications, and done as a service by WSU Extension.

The good news, the two reported, was 95 percent of respondents said they would attend the fair again, based on their experience this year. When they surveyed 4-H members and their families, 92 percent said the city was successful in putting on the fair.

Other survey questions revealed that 40 percent of the fair attendees were visiting for the first time; animals were the No. 1 reason people came to the fair; and, for those who planned on visiting an Enumclaw business, the most frequent stop was for food and beverages.

The survey showed that most who attended the fair identified themselves as living in “south King County,” an area defined as south of Renton. Pierce County was No. 2 on the list.

• listened as Chuck Bender, president of the Mount Rainier Independent Business Alliance, reminded everyone that changes are in store for this year’s holiday parade. The MRIBA has taken over the parade and moved the start time to 2 p.m., making it the featured event in a full day of downtown activities.

• heard Mayor John Wise preside over a formal welcome for new Fire Chief Joseph Clow.

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