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Fir Street becomes focal point for improvement

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With plans coming together for Sequim’s new city hall and police station, plenty of other city projects are in the works for 2014.

 

Bearing the Sequim City Council’s approval of next year’s budget, the city has nearly $6 million earmarked for parks ($350,000), streets ($1,934,000), water ($2,235,000) and sewer projects ($1,283,000) in waiting.

 

Some of these projects are designed to help traffic flow, create more safety in the parks and on the roads, and increase water/sewer efficiency.

 

At the top of the public’s inquiries, public works director Paul Haines said, is what streets are next for overlay repairs.

 

Using a recent pavement management study, and $336,000 split from sewer and water funds, Haines said they’ll work to preserve certain streets with chip sealing/crack sealing and slurry because they are the cheapest preservation methods and extend roads’ lifespans.

 

However, to maintain city streets in their current condition, Haines said, the city would need to spend about $1.2 million a year and invest in these cheaper improvements every five to seven years.

 

Sequim streets are in average condition with a rating of 74 because of improvements made in recent developments, Haines said, but there is a point where the city won’t have funding to fix certain things.

 

“(Overlays) eat up a lot of budget,” he said. “They cost about $150,000 per block.”

 

Fir Street repairs

Fir Street along some of Sequim’s schools from Sequim Avenue to Fifth Avenue is designated for repairs over the next two years. For years, city councilors and locals voiced their opinions for repairs.

 

“It’s one people are anxious for,” Haines said.

 

With the prime time for road construction in the summer, a full irrigation ditch, high costs and engineering designs have prevented the city from making significant upgrades in the past.

 

Haines said as the Sequim School District looks to improve its facilities, he sees this as one practical chance to make the changes right.

 

The city is spending $443,000 on engineering and right of way purchases next year using much of a $511,000 federal grant before beginning improvements in 2015. The project is estimated to cost $1.97 million with part of the design process including an investigation to see if Fir Street needs streetlights at Sequim Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

 

City Engineer David Garlington said he thinks people will be behind the changes. “The improvements are going to make it more pedestrian friendly,” he said.

 

Construction on the road tentatively would begin in the summer 2015, which could conflict with

Sequim’s festivals. Haines said it’s likely there would need to be an alternate site for the Sequim Lavender Festival’s Street Fair if construction were to conflict. He anticipates enough planning time for a coordinated plan to work out.

 

Haines said the Clallam County PUD also is looking into federal grants to place telephone lines in this stretch underground.  

 

Better traffic flow

Compared to the big cities, Sequim’s traffic problems may seem small but crossing town from the intersection of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue remains a point of contention.

 

One city project will pay $50,000 from the Transportation Benefit District to sync the street lights for improved traffic flow and decreased waiting time for vehicles and pedestrians, Haines said.

 

The city will seek help from the Department of Transportation or a consultant to sync all of the street lights. Haines said improvements like this help the city build to capacity without building more lanes.

 

The Transportation Benefit District also will pay for ADA improvements along East Fir Street ($275,000), LED street light conversions ($22,500) and Etta Street improvements ($25,000).

 

On Etta Street, Haines said the improvements “reinforce the place is for people not just cars.”

 

Depending on grants, the city looks to use $300,000 to engineer and buy right of ways on potential economic development around the Burrows property with street improvements nearby and a traffic signal at South Sequim Avenue and Prairie Street.

 

Sewer and water projects

With much of the city’s capital projects funding going into water and sewer, a handful of projects improve galvanized piping on parts of East Maple Street, East Bell Street, West Prairie, West Maple and Sunnyside for nearly $1.1 million.

 

Haines said new piping is good 50 to 75 years and the less friction needed to move water the less power they use. For city utility users, the city plans to remotely read sewer and water meters once the $230,000 project is complete.

 

City staff also will engineer plans for more water flow from the Port Williams well field ($34,000), create services to the Emerald Highlands subdivision ($23,200), and create a new sewer lift station to Bell Hill area (($64,000) along with several other projects.

 

Carrie Blake entrance

The first phase of major changes to Carrie Blake Park are set for next year so long as grants come through. With $95,000 for hotel and motel tax funds available, the city needs another $170,000 to close off the entrance of the park and move it around to the skate park. The second phase, resurfacing the area around Guy Cole Convention Center, and the third phase, building a parking lot over the BMX park, are dependent on the revitalization of the center.

 

Sequim plans to finish vandal-proofing its public restrooms ($15,000), connecting its new Gerhardt Park to city sewer and water ($25,000), a new reader board for Carrie Blake Park at Washington Street and Blake Avenue ($20,000) and an updated parks master plan ($25,000).

 

The Sequim City Council next talks about the city’s budget with tentative adoption at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25.Read the budget online at sequimwa.gov or at city hall, 152 W. Cedar St.

 

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