Council to host public hearing to discuss potential impacts of Perfect Passage Project

Tonasket seeking public input on project March 23 at 6 p.m.

An artists conseption of what the Tonasket Perfect Passage Project might look like.

An artists conseption of what the Tonasket Perfect Passage Project might look like.

TONASKET – Tonasket City Council held a Public Hearing during their regular meeting March 14 to provide an opportunity for the community to learn more about US 97/Whitcomb Ave. Downtown Corridor Redevelopment Project (Perfect Passage Project), preferred alternatives, and any potential impacts, including impacts to existing utility rates.

There will be a Perfect Passage Public meeting next Thursday, March 23. The meeting will be held at Tonasket City Hall at 6 p.m. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss updates, communication strategies and include a questions and answer time.

The project is using funding from the state Department of Ecology (Ecology) Clean Water State Revolving Funds, supplemented by USDA-Rural Development, state Department of Transporation (WSDOT) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in addition to direct state legislative appropriations.

“It looks like you guys have found out what your funding is and what you’re expecting in more funding. What is the total cost of this project? The other thing is, have you considered your population of your town, with people with set incomes and some of them low incomes? What’s the percentage of people who are on low income, and how is that going to affect your community?” asked community member Joanne Dagnon.

Dagnon urged the council to check in on the possible effects the project will have.

Councilwoman Teagan Levine addressed the storm water utility fund.

“So far, any loan is from the Department of Ecology and that was for the storm water and we set up a fund two years ago to help mitigate that at a very low cost. So we could start ahead of time on being able to pay for that and make those payments. We’re talking about millions and millions of dollars but have one loan for approximately $200,000.” said Levine.

Levine said the Perfect Passage Project will cost roughly $9.8 million.

“I just want to say, we don’t know. That’s really the end answer. We don’t have a final total yet because the numbers keep changing. Things are moving. We have a rough estimate that we’re hoping that covers everything,” said Councilwoman Alisa Weddle.

According to Weddle, that total is $9 million to $10 million.

“Really, Joanne, that answer is, we don’t have a final answer,” said Weddle.

Weddle said although what they are spending the money for the project stays the same, inflation continues to fluctuate the cost of those items.

“It’s hard to say, this is the final answer but we have a number that we’re hoping will cover everything as we know it right now,” said Weddle.

The purpose of US 97/Whitcomb Ave. Downtown Corridor Redevelopment Project/Perfect Passage is:

Flooding of existing buildings due to inadequate storm water facilities.

Inadequate/inconsistent sidewalks and curb/gutter including ADA non- compliance and insufficient curb reveal

Comprehensive public/private utility issues and upgrade needs (e.g. overhead power/poles, communications, conduits, lighting, water, sewer, etc.)

Technical Issues/Transportation improvements alternatives were identified in the 2019 Redevelopment Master Plan. The city performed various public outreach programs throughout the 2019 Redevelopment Master Plan process.

The potential environmental impacts of the project and improvement and alternatives were also up for discussion.In order to mitigate and reduce the impact to the ratepayer the city has secured $4,450,240 in grant funding and $202,800 in low-interest federal and state loans.An additional funding application for $808,400 is also in progress.

Preliminary construction already started for the Perfect Passage Project last week.