Tonasket approves street vacation

TONASKET – A public meeting was held requesting vacation of a portion of the First Street right-of-way between the alley and Tonasket Ave. South, blocks 13 and 14 at the July 26 Tonasket City Council meeting. The council approved the ordinance following a review by Permit Administrator Christian Johnson, with the city retaining a general municipal easement for the existing utilities. The request was presented by attorney Dale Crandall for owners Bob and Margaret Hirst, which will make the property more handicap accessible.

Mayor Patrick Plumb thanked the public works staff for painting on city curbs where there is no parking. “They painted by hand, according to all the different ordinances, and did a really great job,” said Plumb, adding, “It seemed to inspire everyone else to start painting and make the town look a lot nicer. I want to thank the businesses that invested in the outsides of their businesses. I think Tonasket has put energy back into the front of their buildings, including the new deck at the visitor center, and it is a great thing for the community.”

Plumb said he also appreciated Tonasket School District Superintendent Steve McCullough for meeting with him and Tonasket Police Chief Darren Curtis.

“I appreciate his leadership at the beginning of the school year. I think we have a good chance to keep our working relationships together and keep our kids in a safe place, with more active police with a presence at the school,” said Plumb. “It’s important for kids to know Darren and the police are a resource. I appreciate the effort Chief Curtis is putting into kids’ lives. Sometimes it takes a little correction.”

Plumb said he hoped high school seniors were taking their roles seriously and their influence on the younger kids, who “really looked up to them.”

Council member Clair Jeffko and Plumb reported speaking to Michael Guss, Executive Director of North Central Economic Development District, who was looking into possible funding for the Tonasket Airport. City Supervisor Hugh Jensen reported going through 18 30-pound buckets of crack sealant at the airport.

“We ordered 30 more, we have a few spots in town we would like to do,” said Jensen, adding that by putting sand in the cracks first it not only made the sealant go further but act more effective with contraction and expansion of the asphalt.

Jeffko reported Guss is also looking into reconstruction funding for Highway 97 with the ability to fix the utilities underneath.

In other city business, the council approved a payment of $71,654.70 to Moreno and Nelson Construction Corp. for work done on the pedestrian bridge between June 27 and July 12.

“The bridge is done and the dedication was fantastic,” reported Council member Dennis Brown.

Jeffko reported receiving complaints about an alley in Tonasket needing cleaned up, but it is private property owned by a business. Jeffko also asked about plans for a nine-hole golf course and it was decided the city would have an open public meeting with people invested in the park to discuss the best location.

“We need safe places for people to park,” said Plumb. Parking for sporting events at Chief Tonasket Park has been an issue of contention in the past.

“People believe it is their God-given right to get behind the wheel of a car and drive wherever they want, and they don’t see it as a privilege or have any respect for other people’s property said Curtis.

Council member Jensen Sackman asked about the public transportation bus parking by the Eagles Hall and making it hard to see oncoming traffic when pulling out of the parking lot.

“We have the ability to put some covered bus stops in town, we just need to figure out the best places to put those,” said Plumb.

Curtis reported Javier Aguilar accepting the position of radio patrolman and being sworn in last week.

Council member Maria Moreno had nothing to report, and council member Jill Vugteveen was excused for her absence due to fire fighting duties.