Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Leavenworth City Council discusses plans and ideas for the new year

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The Leavenworth City Council met for their bi-weekly meeting at City Hall on January 24. Drawing a larger attendance than last week’s meeting, the main focus of this gathering was to discuss with the Planning Committee about the year 2023. The Planning Committee introduced several items on which they would like to work with the council on improving and solving in this upcoming year. This new year signifies a new beginning to issues that can be solved with a cohesive plan. The committee was determined to find 5 specific items that they could tackle this year, having them prove beneficial for the community. They spoke of the time spent diligently during the last six months making progress and compiling a docket of what's to come this year. During the presentation, there were many items that the council and committee did not hold in similar importance, however the meeting was set to discover a set of five or six items that could be realistically completed within the year. One of the main points of discussion the council bought up involved ramifications of items attempted to be solved. There was slight concern about being careful and trying to complete items that do not have a high potential of causing unintended consequences. There was an understanding that some of these discussion points and issues within the town would not be solved within the next decade, however the council and committee were determined to view things in a future tense, in order to support a city for more generations to enjoy. The joint discussion allowed for the two groups to relay information and ideas about this year and what can be prioritized, and it was decided that five main items would be in focus. cottage housing, inclusionary zoning, density of bed and breakfasts, parking, condominiums, and triplexes/townhomes were the main topics that were found to be of the most importance for this year. Although this does not mean there will not be focus in any other areas, the committee wanted to convey where their work will be focused in 2023, and the council was able to aid this discussion and create a list that benefits the entirety of the community.

The second half of the meeting was set for a presentation by Brice Maryman, discussing the future of Front Street and the continuation of the closure that has been present for a couple years now. The presenter went into detail of many different statistics and data points that outlined certain changes that could be introduced to this street, with most of the surveys leading to positive reactions within the community. He opened the idea of continuing this nonvehicle street, and maintaining the European brand that it brings along with the architecture. Many streets in Europe are fitted for walking only, which makes this idea of turning Front Street into a permanent nonvehicle area to be extremely authentic. One of the larger focus points is the need for a parking garage downtown, as they would try to eliminate most street parking with this change. This would need to be the first action to take place in order for the transition to come to fruition. Maryman talked about the concern for low mobility access with sidewalks and other areas with steep inclines. These areas would receive treatment, creating a sidewalk-less street that contains a smooth surface for pedestrians to stroll upon. Another idea of moving the Gazebo to a more centralized area was presented. This would allow for a spray park to be added and sledding hill would receive a proper incline that increases a safer route for sledders. The potential timeline for this project is not certain, however, the ideal scenario would see plans formulated within the next 24 to 36 months.

            The council concluded the meeting with reports of their respective departments. One of the most important topics brought up was the forward moving project of the roundabout. The council announced that plans are in progress and construction will begin this year. The start date is not finalized, however, there is an understanding that construction would begin sometime in April or May. This comes just two weeks after their previous meeting where a consensus was made about the roundabout project. The council also agreed to purchase a new loaded mounted snow blower for the city in order to increase the snow removal efforts and speed up the process for this season. The hope is to get the new piece of machinery to the city sometime within the next month, but there is a bit more research to be done in order to know if it will get here before Spring. The Community Engagement Night was on January 31 at the Festhalle. Discussion topics were the indoor pool options, Front Street closure, Pine Street Roundabout, City Water System plan update, Winton Mfg., Waste Loop composting program and Cascade Medical advisory Committee information. The council will reconvene for their biweekly meetings on February 7 now at 7 p.m. in City Hall. See updated City Council meetings in this issue.

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