City delays Finn Hill widening until 2003

POULSBO — With several of Little Norway’s roads slated to take the appearance of third world country routes this summer, members of the Poulsbo City Council Public Works Committee weren’t overly troubled last week when they were asked to postpone plans to widen Finn Hill.

The committee’s unanimous decision followed the recommendation of City Engineer John Stephenson, who explained, “There are about five reasons I’d like to delay Finn Hill until next year.”

The top two pertained to right-of-way acquisition and funding problems, which Stephenson said made 2003 a more viable timeframe for the $1 million project.

Work on Finn Hill is primarily reliant on some $750,000 in Transportation Improvement Board money but it also needs an additional $250,000 or so in developer contributions to proceed. With construction at Olhava and Swan Manor on Finn Hill running behind schedule, Stephenson noted that neither developer has yet provided the money the city was relying on for the Finn Hill road improvement.

“If the city wants to proceed this summer, it will have to front the $250,000,” he stated. “Those two developers were going to cover most of the expense.”

“Where do we have that?” Councilwoman Jackie Aitchison asked, noting that Poulsbo is already facing a summer of heavy construction with projects planned on Front Street and Lindvig Way. She didn’t get an answer.

There was some concern that the state’s TIB funding well would be harder to draw cash from in 2003 but Stephenson said that a lot of cities around Washington are finding themselves in the same boat as Poulsbo and delaying projects this summer. Although Finn Hill work was also postponed in 2001, the engineer said the city had a “pretty good track record” with the TIB and would likely have its funding request granted next year as well.

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