Rainbow Bridge lighting fueled by County, Port of Skagit

 

November 4, 2020

The rainbow bridge will soon bet lit up every night. Adding to the already pretty sunset background. -photo by Ken Stern

Town officials are inching closer to what would be a big step toward brightening the mood here this holiday season.

The Town Council is poised to accept interlocal agreements with Skagit County and The Port of Skagit to cover costs of lighting the north side of the iconic Rainbow Bridge.

“The Port has indicated they are proceeding with it,” Town Administrator Scott Thomas told the Council during the nearly one-hour tele-conferenced session Oct. 27, bringing the long-sought sanctioned bridge lighting project closer to reality.

The Town was also awaiting completed paperwork from Skagit County, which will pay one-third the cost, Thomas said.

“Hopefully, the Port will come to a similar agreement,” he said.

The Town, Port, and Skagit County, the latter of which owns the 63-year-old bridge, would share in the expense of installing across the span a series of LED bulbs secured by powerful magnets. The cost is not expected to exceed $10,000.


“People definitely want to see the bridge lit,” said Council member Bill Stokes, who as mayor pro-tem presided over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Ramon Hayes. “It’s a very positive thing.”

Council member John Leaver said it would be ideal timing if the bridge can be lit in time for the annual Christmas Boat Parade in December.

That will depend on how rapidly the Town’s pact with Skagit County, which has jurisdiction over the bridge, can be processed.

“We’re just waiting for the agreement with the county,” said Town Public Works Director Brian Lease. “That will be the go-ahead. As soon as we get a signed agreement with Skagit County, we’ll go for it.”


The Council last week also briefly discussed the Town’s preliminary 2021 budget, which is sure to reflect decreased revenues linked to the economic impact of COVID-19.

“It’s as barebones as a budget can be,” said Stokes. “Everything is so uncertain.”

About all that is certain is that no major capital improvement projects like this year’s re-armoring of the shoreline at Conner Waterfront Park or construction of the new pump station off Caledonia Street will be in the cards for 2021.

Stokes said more number crunching remains ahead. “We’re not anywhere near finalizing anything,” he said.


No resident spoke on the early budget estimates.

Progress continues on the Town’s proposed purchase of a strip of land north of the La Conner Schools campus where future construction of a flood control dike section is planned.

‘We’ve sent an offer to the owners,” Thomas said, “and they’re supposed to contact us this week.”

Council member Jacques Brunisholz has been the panel’s most vocal ring dike proponent, asking for an update on the status of the land purchase at each meeting.

“Don’t worry, Jacques,” assured Stokes, “there will be a sold sign out there before you know it.”

 

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