ILWACO - Ilwaco City Councilman Doug Hubbard presided at Monday's Ilwaco City Council meeting in the absence of Mayor Ed Leonard. Leonard supplied his weekly report before he left, which included the following items:

Blake Olofson of Gray & Osborne was able to secure a $55,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation to help the city pay for the removal of six fuel tanks from Lake Street and the disposal of some 60 tons of contaminated soil. "This does not guarantee we can afford the street light we postponed two weeks ago," Leonard said, "but it certainly improves our prospects."

New concrete sidewalks in the city are scheduled to be poured this week, subject to weather. "I remind you," Leonard said, "that when the sidewalks were poured at the port everyone relaxed, then the asphalt crew came in with huge machines, chopped up the street, and ran up and down what looked like a battlefield for a week prior to paving. Just a warning, it will appear like things are getting better followed by some real inconvenience and chaos. The merchants at the port lived through it - so will we."

Leonard said the First and Howerton project is behind two weeks because of recent heavy rainfall but is "still well ahead of schedule. We hope to have a new street for the Loyalty Day children's parade May 3."

About 300 feet of water main on First Street will have to be replaced, Leonard said, at a cost of $22,050. "The 50-year-old line was made of asbestos cement, was crumbling, and was entirely too shallow," he said.

The city's water treatment plant expansion report is being reviewed by the Washington Department of Health, Leonard reported and "Gibbs and Olsen is proceeding with the steps necessary to increase the plant's reliability and capacity."

A draft water system plan also has been submitted to DOH, he said. "Last Thursday morning, a number of citizens reported 'dirty' water in their pipes," he continued. "The previous evening all three pumps at the Vandalia booster pump station came on. This is a rare event, but it caused the pipes to shake out built-up residues. The water was at all times within DOH standards and was safe. No one complained the water had a bad odor or taste. Still, brown water is not pleasant."

During the city council meeting Monday, Rick Marshall, a partner in the Discovery Heights development, urged residents to attend the Washington Parks and Recreation Department meeting Wednesday night that will present three alternatives for a master plan for Fort Canby State Park. He said he thinks the department is "backing away" from a proposal to build a viewpoint at Beards Hollow that has been discussed since 1999.

Marshall also said Parks will be taking input from citizens about the master plan for only a week after the Wednesday meeting. "The train is moving down the track very fast," he said. "I don't think parks has had enough input on this."

The council approved a proclamation naming April 6 to 13 the Week of the Young Child to promote high-quality services for young children. The week is sponsored by Coastal Community Action offices in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.

The council tabled approving a paving project on Cedar Street until members could discuss the project with Ilwaco Public Works Director Randy Lavold.

Next up for discussion by the council was a concern about speeding vehicles in the Sahalee area. It had been suggested lowering the speed limit from 25 mph to 15 mph but Councilman David Fritts said "you can't go up the hill or down the hill at 15 mph." He also voiced concerns about policing a speed limit in the area. "It would be better to put 4-by-4s across the road to slow them down," Fritts said. "With my old truck, if I start at the bottom of the hill at 15 mph, I won't make it to the top. We should ask the Long Beach Police Department for more patrols and signs are a waste of money." The item was tabled for more discussion with Lavold.

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