LONG BEACH- The Discovery Trail, the skatepark and sidewalks topped the list at the Long Beach City Council meeting on Monday night, and council members praised the work of the city's administrator and SandSations organizers.
When the council last met July 7, concerns were raised about the use of city resources in building different elements of the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail. Councilman Gary Luethe, and others, felt the city was directing too much of its own resources to construction of Compass Plaza, an interpretive site designed to teach visitors about navigation methods used by the expedition.
The city was recently granted $50,000 by the U.S. Forest Service for the Compass Plaza project. The council talked about the idea of spending half of the money on the construction of the monument, and the other half for "general construction," preferably the paving of the trail.
The council, feeling not enough of the money was going toward monument construction and too much time by public workers would be spent on the project, asked City Administrator Nabiel Shawa to work with the Forest Service to restructure grant money and reimburse the city for its labor.
Shawa has been working with the Forest Service in the past weeks to restructure the agreement and announced a resolution.
"I have gone back to the agency and they have given us authorization to accede the $25,000," said Shawa. "They said they would still like to see some of it go to construction. They want to see the Compass Plaza completed. They have also authorized the reimbursement up to $15,000 for work on the project by Long Beach Public Works."
Councilman Luethe praised Shawa for his efforts and asked to be informed of future development.
"I think at our last meeting, at least three people tried to send a message, and obviously you got it," said Luethe. "If there are any more of these projects on the trail, you need to update us on it. We need to know what is going on."
Councilman Ralph Moore compared the monument to putting finishing touches on a new home: "I know some of you guys are not crazy about all the monuments or maybe this particular one, but [leaving them out] is like building a house and not putting molding or drywall on the inside."
Councilmen Gordon Zuern and Mike Unruh announced they reached an agreement with Naselle Rock and Asphalt Co. to blacktop a 50 by 80 foot area of Culbertson Park for the Long Beach Skatepark. Unruh once again stated the ramps will be delivered, and the park ready to use by mid-August.
Six-Year Transportation Plan
The city council heard public testimony regarding street improvements and the possibility of adding additional sidewalks in the future.
The city is required by the state of Washington to update its six-year transportation plan and have a public hearing so citizens have an opportunity to come forward and suggest streets in need of paving or improvement. The council then takes those comments together with the council's and Public Works' assessment of what roads need to be improved. Those improvements are then prioritized over a period of six years and become part of the city's transportation plan, which is communicated to state Department of Transportation. It then becomes part of the official city transportation plan permanent record.
The city can only really legally tackle those improvements that are part of the six-year plan. The city can't use the gas tax or some of the grants it occasionally receives for street improvements unless they are part of the transportation plan.
Mary Yoshimi, who is assisted by use of an electric cart, was concerned about the stretch of Oregon Street between Second and Third Streets. The street is obviously in a state of disrepair, and the council agreed something needs to be done to improve that part of the street as soon as possible.
"I have to use that street because Washington [St.] is too busy," said Yoshimi. "We need that repaired as soon as possible."
Shawa said the soonest the city would be able to fix it would be late September or October when city crews will be working on drainage in the area. Shawa then pointed out that Yoshimi has often done the city a service by mending flags.
"This is the lady who takes all our city flags after we have a parade, and at no cost to the city repairs all our flags for us, and so we do appreciate the service you have given us," said Shawa.
Yoshimi replied by saying, "and I would appreciate it if you could fix that one little road over there."
As the room erupted in laughter, Councilman Unruh said, "I think it has just moved up to the top of the list."
Another concerned resident of Long Beach asked the city council if there were any plans to add sidewalks to parts of the city where they were lacking. Members of the council responded by saying there just are no funds available at this time to make any such plans.
Mayor praises SandSations
Mayor Dale Jacobson commented on the success of SandSations saying that 3,000 hotdogs were given out by the Lion's Club by 1 p.m. The Mayor also thanked event emcee Don Parsons for his help, saying, "He was very animated and drew quite a crowd."
Jacobson did want to make sure that future directors of the events are sure to rope off the beach to motor vehicle access.