SEQUIM — A multi-partner Sequim street project nearly eight years in the making is complete and was feted with a unique ribbon cutting.
The City of Sequim celebrated the completion of the West Fir Street Rehabilitation Project on Thursday. It was a $6.2 million effort that saw its final piece — a traffic light at North Fifth Avenue — installed in mid-June.
Following short speeches by Sequim mayor William Armacost, City Council member and former mayor Dennis Smith and Sequim school Superintendent Rob Clark, Armacost led a procession of city vehicles as they “cut” the ceremonial ribbon.
Armacost said the project is a boon to not only students at the nearby school campuses and the Boys & Girls Club but also local residents.
“They are loving the results of what we see today,” he said.
City officials also acknowledged city engineer Matt Klontz and partners in the effort — the Transportation Improvement Board, the state Department of Ecology, the state Department of Transportation and City of Sequim — along with local businesses who completed the work.
“We were able to accomplish this with local contractors,” Armacost noted. “These dollars and cents go back into our local economy.”
He added, “It really is a team project.”
The project rebuilt a five-block stretch near Sequim School District’s main campus and features paved eastbound and westbound lanes for vehicles and bike lanes for cyclists.
It also included pedestrian improvements with the addition of concrete sidewalks on both sides of the street and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant curb ramps at intersections, plus street lighting, landscaping and crossing enhancements at the Sequim Avenue intersection, a mid-block school crossing east of Second Avenue and at the North Fifth Avenue intersection.
The rehabilitation effort technically broke ground in May 2019, but Smith said the drive to fix Fir Street began for him in late 2012 and early 2013, when he joined the council.
“It takes time … and it takes money (to get projects like this done),” Smith said.
“This is a benchmark for the rest of the city streets.”
Clark said the school district was happy to have an improved softball field on the north side of the street and a level field where the Sequim Community School once stood, done with separate projects.
He added that, while he appreciates city leaders referring to similar projects as “Complete Streets,” Clark added, half-jokingly, that “this is not a ‘Complete Street’; we need to add a new school on the field where the community school stood.”
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].