Plans are in the works for two additional types of signs that will go up at strategic points around the city of Enumclaw to welcome and direct visitors towards the city's downtown corridor who will then hopefully partake in the many goods and services available while they're here.
The Enumclaw City Council on Monday heard presentations from City Planner Clark Close regarding a large gateway monument sign that is proposed to greet drivers headed to Enumclaw from Buckley along eastbount State Route 410, along with three smaller downtown wayfinding signs that help highlight local stores, restaurants and other services available on or near Cole Street.
About 300 citizens took the time over the last few weeks to complete an online survey by the city regarding the design of the gateway sign, which is a city-funded project, Close said. The majority preference was clear at 73 percent in favor of the 'Pacific Northwest' option that included an additional metals treatment over the 'Traditional.' (see images with this story for both designs)
Both the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board also agreed on the Pacific Northwest design, said Close. The council agreed 6-1 as well. The dissenter was Councilman Sean Krebs who expressed appreciation for the project but said he was 'conflicted' over the cost of the project in light of the tight economy.
According to Community Development Director Erika Shook, the cost of the sign is already included in the 2012 budget.
Councilman Darrel Dickson clarified that there would be options for local civic organizations to be featured as well in 2 feet by 2 feet signs that would not conflict with existing state right-of-way designations.
Close said the sign is expected to span 20 to 25 feet wide and 6 to 8 feet tall and will sit at Warner Avenue near the Foothills Trail parking lot.
And if all goes according to plan, once the drivers pass the gateway sign, they'll happen upon one of three wayfinding signs proposed by a group of downtown merchants that are known as the Enumclaw Downtown Merchants & Friends and led by Marilyn Nelson, owner of .
These wayfinding signs don't call out specific businesses but do let passers by know that there are restaurants, shops, antiques, lodging and a visitors center in the downtown corridor, said Close. "They fit a niche that we've yet to capture," with existing signage, he said. (see image of sign attached to this story)
The city has been working with Nelson's group since July to run plans through proper channels and ensure adherence to existing right-of-way designations, but they will not be paying for the signs - the merchants will be paying for them, he said.
They also propose placing a sign on westbound SR 410 approaching Watson Street, and a third on Griffin Avenue across from City Hall. The first two locations are city property and Council did agree to that; the third location sits on Mutual of Enumclaw property, and it has yet to be announced whether or not they are giving permission for the third sign.
Dickson and Councilman Jim Hogan expressed concern for the long-term maintenance and care of these signs as the merchants group is not an official organization, but Council did vote unanimously to add the signs to the city signage program.
In Other News:
Welcome Center: Council OK'd a $15,029 increase in spending on a contract with Otak, Inc., the project architect that is tasked with implementing modifications to a site design that was first completed in 2008 such that it now complies with environmental rules outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The modifications are necessary, said Public Works Director Chris Searcy, in association with use of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding of $674,080 that requires an evaluation of the site design for impacts to park and recreational properties as well as items of historical and cultural significance. As an example, the evaluation found the design needed to work around the historic stone steps by the old baseball field on the property by the Expo Center, Searcy said.
This will likely be the end of the permitting process, said City Administrator Mike Thomas, who acknowledged it's been drawn out longer than anticipated. The next step is to start having funding and construction conversations, he said.
Krebs opposed the funding, city cost overruns associated with long-term maintenance, and he maintained the Welcome Center project is not intended to serve the citizens of Enumclaw.
There was also a public hearing set to discuss the Welcome Center, but no one was in attendance.
Comprehensive Plan: Council heard a presentation from Shook regarding proposed amendments to Chapter 4 (land use), Chapter 5 (transportation) and Chapter 6 (capital facilities) of the city's Comprehensive Plan. Amendments update the language, clarify land use policies and goals, update maps and tables for previously approved amendments, annexation and capital facilities plans, and increase consistency between land use elements. This was a first reading of the associated ordinance so no action was taken. (For specific details, click the agenda packet and see page 9)
There was also a public hearing set to discuss the amendements, but no one was in attendance.
Winter Heating: Council approved a motion for the Public Works Department to purchase 30 percent of the natural gas for the 2013-14 winter season at $4.20/decatherm or less. Based on current prices, if they don't drop to that level in time, said Hogan, Council will revisit the issue.
Library Board Appointment Held Up: Krebs motioned to hold the Library Board appointment of Judy Prenevost while approving the rest of the consent agenda as he wanted to see the city's decision for her appointment, he said.
Food Drive Sept. 22: Mayor Liz Reynolds issued a formal proclamation recognizing "Mayor's Day of Concern for the Hungry," which centers around a local food drive effort at Safeway Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.