SEQUIM — City staff hope to improve pedestrian access into and around Carrie Blake Community Park.
City Engineer Matt Klontz told the Sequim City Council on Feb. 12 that the plan is 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 sidewalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“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 along North Blake Avenue is in compliance; that corner is at East Fir Street, Klontz said.
Sequim City Council members are scheduled to consider contractor bids 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. Funds will come 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 staff “re-evaluated the project and it just made sense to do this one in its entirety.”
Klontz said staff 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 the staff is 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 brick red warning panels (purple wasn’t available) and will be flatter 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 Council members Feb. 12 unanimously approved changes to Sequim’s facility rental policies that keep 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 nonprofits, but add a nonrefundable $25 deposit for custodial expenses.
City council members’ 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 might not be available for use during an emergency — so it could not 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 Councilwoman Pam Leonard-Ray shared that sentiment, saying other city rentals such as 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 Councilmen 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 are “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.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].