In a last-minute special meeting last month, the Enumclaw City Council discussed how the city is moving forward with its recently-constructed outside eating venues and the fate of the third-annual Sundays on Cole event.
Mayor Pro Tem Chance La Fleur led the June 29 meeting, which was announced just the previous Friday.
All agenda items were approved by a unanimous vote.
First on the short to-do list was approving a lease agreement between the city of Enumclaw and the landowners of the empty lot on Myrtle Avenue and Cole Street, adjacent to The Local.
“The vacant lot at the corner… is being used for outdoor take-out dining through August 2020,” the agenda bill reads. “This ground lease would permit this use and other festival type use through 2022.”
The staff report of the resolution details that the cost of leasing the lot is equivalent to the property taxes and utilities — a rough total of about $2,000 a year, La Fleur said. The cost will come out of the city’s general fund.
The report notes that besides outdoor dining, the space could be used for street vendors, vehicle displays, and food trucks, but not public parking.
During discussion, Councilman Anthony Wright noted there seems to be the possibility of prolonged or increased COVID-19 restrictions, and that “the more that we can do to maximize occupancy anywhere we can is beneficial to our community.”
On that note, the next agenda item was to expand the “streateries” established on Myrtle Avenue, Initial Avenue, and Wells Street last month.
The tents, tables, and chairs being used at these locations are all being rented from the Enumclaw Expo Center, and the city agreed to have them returned Aug. 9 so the equipment is available for the upcoming dog show.
However, due to the increase in the spread of the coronavirus, the city wants to be able to keep these locations open for outdoor dining a bit longer.
The motion will allow tent rentals to go through Aug. 31 at a cost of $11,000 at most, the staff report notes. Extending the tent rentals will be determined by how many local restaurants can provide their own tables and chairs once the Expo Center’s equipment is returned.
Additionally, the motion approves the city to purchase approximately 10 picnic tables to place on the Myrtle and Cole lot through at least 2021 before the tables are relocated to various parks. The cost of purchasing the tables is not to exceed $10,000, bringing the total maximum cost of this motion to around $21,000.
Revenue for these rentals and purchases comes from the national CARES Act, which has been providing cities with COVID-19 relief funds; the city has already spent approximately $18,000 of the $366,000 allotted to them through King County to set up these streateries.
The last topic the council tackled in the 15-minute meeting was how the Sundays on Cole event will likely come together this year — and, luckily, it seems the event will be held in some form.
“It looks like we quite possibly will have some version of a coronavirus Sundays on Cole retail experience,” La Fleur said. “It’s not really going to be the typical event — we can’t hold an event. But some of that will hopefully help downtown and comply with the current constrictions.”
According to La Fleur, the city budgeted $5,000 for a planning coordinator; the past two years, the event was run by the Chamber of Commerce, but this year, it was to be organized by a committee headed by Black Diamond Councilwoman and Enumclaw business owner Melissa Oglesbee.
However, due to the pandemic, La Fleur said the money will be used for insurance and other costs.
“The money will be repurposed. We’re not going to pay for a coordinator. The original coordinator is going to volunteer at a lower level, and there are a lot of other volunteers looking to help,” he continued. Instead, the committee will use the money “to pay for insurance and other expenses, as they probably won’t be getting the sponsorships or the income from quite as many vendor rentals, as things have to be much more sparse this year.”
The council noted no concerns with this plan.