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Council’s first December meeting

From staff reports

La Conner Town officials have looked beyond Christmas lights for bright spots in a year shrouded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, they found some.

The Town Council took note of the year’s successes at its Dec. 8 teleconferenced meeting..

Councilmember Mary Wohleb started, referencing a letter by Parks Commission Chair Ollie Iversen that highlighted major projects completed this year.

Iversen’s letter thanked the Council, administration, public works department and park commission members for progress made and “making our parks something special.”

Mayor Ramon Hayes then listed four significant 2020 developments: re-armoring of the channel bank at Conner Waterfront Park, moving forward with an offer to purchase the strip of land north of the La Conner Schools campus for the ring dike flood control project, construction of a new Caledonia Street pump station; and an interlocal agreement with Skagit County and The Port of Skagit to light Rainbow Bridge.

“A lot of positive things have happened here in a tough year,” Hayes reminded the Council.

Iversen also offered praise, calling the channel bank rock wall “wonderful.”

He cited moving the popular Fiddler Crab to the foot of Washington Street last summer. He noted the commission had produced a Walking Tour of Parks folder.

He recounted, “We added several street signs to help direct people to parks around town, And the Chamber Town Guide maps have been done with parks in the legend and installed at Log Park on South First and at Morris and Third at the washrooms.”

Still, Iversen echoed the lament that the COVID-19 emergency delays capital improvement projects. He expressed regret about damage at Pioneer Park from a recent windstorm that will require time-consuming repairs.

Even so, Iversen prefers the glass half-filled approach.

“As one of many in town,” he said, “I thank you – the Parks Commission, Public Works, Town Council, and Town Administration – for all the help getting so many projects completed, making our parks something special.”

Hayes expanded on the theme in his own year-end message,

“As the proposed budget reflects,” he said, “we anticipate very few projects in 2021. Still, in reflecting over the past six years we have accomplished many goals and projects that have improved our town.”

During the meeting:

• Public Works Director Brian Lease lauded the the channel re-stabilization project done by C. Johnson Co. of Oak Harbor. “It has turned out perfect,” Lease said. “It is one of those rare projects that’s almost flawless.”

• The Council agreed to conduct a survey of lots included in and extending beyond the Hedlin’s Ballfield site. The survey is needed if the Town buys the property for development of a park and play area and includes space for residential construction.

• Lease said that the pathway through Pioneer Park linking Rainbow Bridge and Sherman Street is open despite trail closures elsewhere in the park due to the windstorm damage. This avoids the narrow shoulders along Pioneer Parkway. They are especially hazardous at night. Councilmember Jacques Brunisholz applauded the move, along with sidewalk construction on the east side of Maple Avenue, part of housing developments there.

• Councilmember MaryLee Chamberlain was named Mayor Pro-Tem for the first half of 2021, succeeding Bill Stokes.

SPECIAL MEETING DEC. 16

The Council meets via Zoom 5 p.m. Wednesday to approve MSF Investments accessing waste disposal containers on First Street.

Join the meeting through the Town’s website.

 

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