City of Sequim officials are keeping plans for a Fourth of July fireworks display in Carrie Blake Community Park despite updated COVID-19 regulations for events.
At Monday’s city council meeting, Barbara Hanna, Sequim’s marketing and communications director, said Gov. Jay Inslee’s newest pandemic regulations allow events like the fireworks show with some provisions.
She said staff must monitor and control the number of people allowed in the park, with no more than 600 people per spectator acre, an amount she and city staff are still trying to determine.
Participants in the park must also wear masks, she said.
“I was pretty concerned when I saw some of their requirements but after meeting with the Public Works team I feel more comfortable,” Hanna said.
“Unless we slide backward (with COVID-19 regulations), we’re going to plan for it and continue forward.”
Western Display Fireworks of Canby, Ore., is contracted to perform a 20-minute show for $15,000, with funding from the Sequim Lodging Tax Advisory Committee budget.
The show would likely be held at about 10 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, Hanna previously said.
Staff with the fireworks company recently scouted locations with city staff, Hanna said, and they had no concerns about launching from the Albert Haller Playfields.
Volunteers with the Sequim Police Department and Community Emergency Response Team will be needed to monitor the event, she said.
City staff are also planning for contingencies for overflow parking as well in the area.
“We’re fortunate it can be seen from a lot of places,” Hanna said.
No additional programming will be scheduled before the fireworks, she said, because of strict guidelines for outdoor music and food and beverage.
Discussions for a public fireworks show started around the time city residents decided in an advisory vote with 65.6 percent in favor to ban the discharge of fireworks in November 2016; city councilors passed the ban soon after the vote.
Administration building options
City councilors made no decision at their regular meeting on April 26 regarding the city’s 31-year-old, former Administration Building at 226 N. Sequim Ave.
Jason Loihle, Sequim’s parks/arts manager, provided four options: sell the 26,000-square-foot lot, lease the administrative building, remodel the building for $60,000-$100,000, or leave the building the same.
After an approximate 30-minute executive session, councilors declined to commit to a decision.
The city also leases another property on the lot to OlyCAP’s Head Start building at 224 N. Sequim Ave., to “address the needs of families with children age five and younger,” according to OlyCAP’s website.
Loihle told councilors if they sold the lot, it would include the Head Start building. He said the administration building has been empty for a number of years and used for storage, Meals on Wheels distribution and small city events.
Public Works Director Matt Klontz said the administrative building has some deferred maintenance. Loihle said the building would need about $60,000 in work to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and about $100,000 to include improvements for a potential lease agreement.
Loihle said there’s been a large interest in renting it, but agencies don’t have funding to make it ADA accessible on their own even if the lease was small.
Councilor Keith Larkin said prior to the executive session he wasn’t hearing a good use for the facility and that the “costs aren’t quite what we hoped,” so he recommended selling it.
Mayor William Armacost suggested the idea of turning it into parking because it’s a commodity in the city and that costs to renovate could grow larger than expected.
“We’d still retain the property,” he said. “I resist not using the piece of property to its best potential but it’s got to pencil out.”
Councilor Rachel Anderson said she did not participate in the executive session because she is a volunteer board member for OlyCAP and did not want to have a potential conflict of interest.
Loihle said city staff may bring back options for the building in the summer.
• At the Monday, May 10, city council meeting, city councilors plan to hold public hearings on manufactured home parks prohibiting private streets, and a code amendment omitting the requirement that all but 40 percent of the ground floor in the downtown district be dedicated commercial uses. City staff said this requirement could make downtown Sequim more attractive to multifamily development.
• City councilors gave Klontz the OK to add a solid waste collection study to the city’s 2022 six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Klontz said he wants to assess the city’s needs so it can have answers long before a decision must be made on the city’s waste contracts in the next few years. Councilors will vote on the CIP later this year.