City awarded funds to begin Pt. Brown design

Ocean Shores is in line to receive more than $200,000 in grant funding for design of improvements to Point Brown Avenue that would include a bike path and pedestrian walkways.

Mayor Crystal Dingler last week announced that a city proposal was one of three projets approved by the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) board as part of the federally funded Transportation Alternative Program, administered by the Washington Deparment of Transportation.

CWCOG represents the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization for federal fiscal years 2013-2016. That includes the counties of Grays Harbor, Wahkiakum, Pacific, Lewis, and Cowlitz. The region as a whole was awarded $1.292 million through 2016.

“We indicated in our proposal that we could begin as soon as Jan. 1, 2014,” Dingler said of the Ocean Shores design work that would be needed. “The guidelines indicated that we must begin before August 1, 2014.”

The intent would be to redesign Point Brown to be more accessible to pedestrians, tourists, bicycles and for businesses.

“It would include public meetings and meetings with the business community, and doing something in design that works for everybody,” Dingler told the City Council on Dec. 16 when she first got word of the approval and how the money would be used. “I’m really excited about this.”

In addition to the $205,000 for Ocean Shores, Dingler said other awards were made to:

• City of Longview: Downtown Corridor Bike/Pedestrian Improvements: $630,000.

• Grays Harbor County: Montesano Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Route: $453,616

Federal law stipulates that a minimum 13.5 percent of the total project cost come from non-federal contributions. This may include committed local funds or secured state grants, Dingler noted.

“At this time, we expect to use $20,000 cash from the city’s funds and $15,000 in-kind from time our employees spend working on the project,” she said.

The city sent in its application by the Oct. 25 deadline and ended up with a project that ultimately ranked thrid in the field of 11 projects.

Dingler said she attended the CWCOG meeting on Dec. 19 in Kelso and spoke in support of the project.

“We anticipate about $5,000 in planning, $195,000 engineering and design, and $40,000 for the environmental process,” Dingler said.

The city proposal indicates the design could be completed as early as this June.

“The project will provide planning, concept, and design for Pt. Brown Avenue to address the lack of sidewalks and bicycle paths, lack of adequate storm drainage, and lack of business parking from the gates to the roundabout,” she said. “It will provide a safer, more walkable environment for students and seniors, locals and visitors, and meet our Complete Streets Policy adopted last year.”

Dingler added that another city project, a pathway/firebreak access through the dunes, also would have met the crieria of the program, but “it was clear to me that Pt. Brown had to come first.”

“I want to thank our staff members who worked on this proposal. We are all more than excited to take this big step forward with the design,” Dingler said in an email. “We expect a significant amount of public input, particularly from the business community along that stretch of Pt. Brown.”


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