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Anderson Parkway project moved to February

POULSBO — Downtown merchants’ vocal opposition to the timing of the Anderson Parkway project has succeeded.

The Poulsbo City Council re-considered its vote from two weeks ago Wednesday. Following more testimony from downtown business owners and debate among the council, the council changed direction and voted the project should start in February.

Councilman Jim Henry was opposed to changing the date. Councilwoman Linda Berry-Maraist was absent.

The council voted March 21 to begin construction in October. The entire parkway will be repaved, and rain gardens will be installed to filter tainted stormwater runoff before it reaches Liberty Bay. The work is expected to take 30 days. The parkway will be closed while the work is done. The project will cost $330,000, of which $270,000 is a Department of Ecology grant. Eventually, the city intends to turn the parkway into green space. The mayor will host community meetings next month to discuss a park and a parking structure.

Councilman Ed Stern said repeatedly this project was not a park, parking, or downtown shopping project — it is to address state-mandated pollution control of Liberty Bay. However, he asked the council to reconsider the March 21 motion and suggested the scope, size and duration of the project remain the same, but to move the schedule to February 2013.

City staff members had previously said spring was not an ideal time for construction because of colder temperatures and a higher chance of rain. At the March 21 meeting, City Engineer Andrzej Kasiniak said staff members found February has about three more rainy days than October.

“Of course [February has] a higher risk, but it can be done,” he said.

Henry did not agree with the change, voting against the motion.

“We should hold to that decision,” he said, referring to the March 21 meeting. “Just because the wind changes doesn’t mean [we] should go in that direction.”

Downtown merchants, frustrated the construction would take place during the busy fall season, were pleased at the change.

“I’m glad. They listened to downtown,” said Sandy Kolbeins, owner of The Loft restaurant and president of the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association. “They took a long time, but I’m glad they did in the end. All public meetings they had said February was the time.”

All council members agreed they were taking a risk in shifting the construction to February, not least because the grant funding runs out in March 2013.

“We do listen to our citizens,” Mayor Becky Erickson said. “If the project is delayed in February, please, local merchants … we ask for your consideration. We have every incentive to get this done as quickly as we can.”

 

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