Improvements to Port Angeles City Pier, shown Thursday, could be included in the city’s capital facilities plan. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Improvements to Port Angeles City Pier, shown Thursday, could be included in the city’s capital facilities plan. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles council asks for more details on downtown projects

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council will take another look at downtown projects before voting on a capital facilities plan.

The council voted 7-0 Tuesday to request from staff a detailed presentation on waterfront redevelopment, Railroad Avenue improvements, City Pier projects and the city’s downtown improvement plan.

Council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin made the motion to “provide council and the public a better understanding of these projects and their interactions.”

The action was prompted by a request from the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Priorities

The chamber board asked the city to prioritize the third phase of the waterfront redevelopment project, designate Railroad Avenue as a transportation arterial and to explore partnerships with the Port of Port Angeles or other maritime entity for the maintenance and management of City Pier.

“Our opinion is that many of these vitally important projects in the CFP [capital facilities plan] can and will benefit from the efficiencies of combined efforts during the planning, financing and implementation phases,” chamber board Vice President Christopher Thomsen told the council during a public hearing Tuesday.

“As the trusted and representative voice of the Port Angeles business community, the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce can and will act as the convener for any and all stakeholders that will be affected by and benefit from an active and re-prioritized project like [waterfront redevelopment] and others.”

Funding questions

The $8.1 million waterfront redevelopment project, $200,000 Railroad Avenue overlay and $1 million downtown improvement plan are each listed as “unfunded” in the 2020-25 capital facilities plan.

Also listed as unfunded are $900,000 in repairs to City Pier and a $100,000 railing for the pier.

“I think that we’re still in this space where we have these three or four projects that really are one project, and we need to decide what that project is and what the scope is and how it’s going to move forward and say that it’s a priority,” City Council member Mike French said.

The City Council will consider adopting a Capital Facilities Plan after a second public hearing June 18.

Thomsen said the chamber will assemble key players in proposed downtown projects like the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s hotel, the Port Angeles Waterfront Center and a five-story apartment/condominium complex on Front Street.

“In this way, the chamber provides a venue and a mechanism that would allow all parties to openly discuss concerns, explore ways to combine efforts and possibly even share costs,” Thomsen said.

Other speakers at the hearing asked the council to fund sidewalks for Mount Angeles Road and to build a bridge over White Creek that would connect East Lauridsen Boulevard to Golf Course Road.

The capital facilities plan and transportation improvement plan lists more than 250 funded and unfunded projects for the next six years.

The 292-page document is available on the city’s website, www.cityofpa.us, under “Finance.”

Deputy Mayor Kate Dexter said the request for more information on downtown projects was a “good next step” for the council.

“If we don’t take the time to address the things that are brought up at a public hearing, then the public hearing doesn’t seem very valuable,” Dexter said.

Council member Michael Merideth agreed.

“For these folks to come to us and voice their concerns, it feels like it’s just lip service if we don’t do anything to address their concerns,” Merideth said.

Said Council member Jim Moran: “Let’s take this plan out, dust it off and update it, and then look at what priorities we need to start with.”

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@ peninsuladailynews.com.

Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

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