With pickleball courts being readied for construction in Carrie Blake Community Park, staff with the City of Sequim look to improve pedestrian access into and around the park as well.
City Engineer Matt Klontz said on Feb. 12 at the Sequim City Council meeting that staff are looking to improve pedestrian accessibility for all ages along North Blake Avenue’s sidewalks from East Washington Street to East Oak Street.
This entails finishing incomplete stretches of sidewalks and installing Americans with Disabilities Act compliant sidewalks.
“Blake Avenue is such an important corridor because a lot of visitors access the park,” Klontz said. “Having a pedestrian-friendly corridor says something about Sequim.”
More than a dozen intersections including roadways and alleyways’ curbs are not ADA compliant including the intersection of Washington Street and North Blake Avenue where crosswalks are painted.
Only one corner at East Fir Street is in compliance along North Blake Avenue, Klontz said.
Contractor bids were due on Valentine’s Day to the city with Sequim City Councilors scheduled to consider contracts at their regular meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 26, in the Sequim Civic Center, 152 W. Fir St.
Estimates by city staff have the project costing up to $249,000 with funds coming from the Transportation Benefit District.
It was originally budgeted in last year’s Transportation Benefit District budget at $150,000 to install a missing stretch of sidewalk, but Klontz said they “reevaluated the project and it just made sense to do this one in its entirety.”
Klontz said they wanted to coordinate this project so that the pickleball court contractors Northern Land Development of Kingston would consider bidding on this project as a follow-up for the spring and summer.
Along with an overhaul of several curb sides, Klontz said they are considering painting a six foot bike lane along a portion of the west side of North Blake Avenue by the new park entrance to Washington Street because the lane is big enough for both vehicles and bikes in that stretch where parking isn’t allowed.
Curbs will feature a brick red-colored warning panels (purple wasn’t available) and will be more flat and wider for people to access, Klontz said.
Once complete, city staff plan to mark new crossings and install new signage for accessing the park.
City Councilors unanimously approved a few changes to Sequim’s facility rental policies on Feb. 12 that keeps the Sequim Transit Center available to rent while adding custodial costs and a commercial rate to some facilities.
Sarah VanAusdle, Sequim’s public works management analyst, and other staff members focused for three days in November on streamlining the rental process and evaluating costs, she said.
Some of the changes include:
• Adding a commercial rate for rentals such as the James Center Bandshell at $200 per hour, and renting the Guy Cole Event Center Hall at $200. VanAusdle said this was industry standard to offer a commercial rate.
• Removing the city’s Interpretative Center from rentals within Carrie Blake Community Park because it was never rented .
• Adding the city’s former administrative building, 226 N. Sequim Ave., as a possible venue for community functions.
• Free rentals for government agencies will continue and expand to include non-profits, but add a nonrefundable $25 deposit for custodial expenses.
City councilors’ one point of contention was keeping the Transit Center available to rent.
VanAusdle said city staff wanted the facility to still be available for city events but they feared the facility would be in use during an emergency it may not be available to quickly transition into an Emergency Operations Center.
In recent years, the city has paid for upgrades to the center to act as a headquarters in the city for emergencies.
Deputy Mayor Candace Pratt said she was disappointed to see it removed from rentals.
“It has filled an important need in the community,” she said.
City Councilor Pam Leonard-Ray shared the sentiment saying other city rentals like the City Council Chambers don’t have the same seating as the Transit Center.
If there were a disaster, I would hope people would be willing to move out of the space and let emergency operations commence,” she said.
Pratt and Leonard-Ray along with city councilors Ted Miller and Bob Lake asked to keep the center available.
VanAusdle said they’ll review the fees again in a year.
In recent months, city staff led by Gary Butler improved the city’s public bathrooms by the Sequim Skate Park, Water Reuse Demonstration Park, the Sequim Transit Center and at the intersection of Sequim Avenue and Cedar Street.
Public Works Director David Garlington said the city’s bathrooms are some of the most used infrastructure in the city and “unfortunately used and abused.”
“What we found, we do have more and more people using the bathrooms for inappropriate things,” he said.
For more efficient daily cleanings, staff replaced wall boards with smooth plastic, replaced vandalized mirrors and kick plates, placed clear coat on floors, and installed motion-activated air sanitizer and door locks that work on a timer but won’t lock someone in.
For more information on City of Sequim projects, call 360-683-3311 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.