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Millwood seeks sidewalks on south side of Grace Avenue

Sat., March 15, 2014, midnight

The Millwood City Council decided Tuesday to apply for a state grant to install sidewalks along the south side of Grace Avenue between Argonne and Sargent roads.

The city will apply for a Small City Sidewalk Program grant from the Transportation Improvement Board. The deadline is in August. If awarded, the city would be responsible for matching 5 percent of the project costs.

Matt Gillis of Welch Comer Engineers said the fact that the Millwood Early Childhood Education Center is located along that section of Grace would boost the application.

“I think this is a project that would be pretty appealing to a funding source,” Gillis said. “Anything adjacent to a school property is popular.”

Gillis estimated that if the city won funding next spring, construction could be completed in late 2015 or early 2016.

Welch presented two other transportation projects to the council: widening Empire Avenue and widening and installing left turn lanes on Argonne Road.

The council asked Gillis to research the feasibility of pursuing a grant from Spokane Regional Transportation Council to widen Argonne with the intention of installing left-turn lanes at select intersections. The SRTC is currently seeking projects to fund from the Surface Transportation Program for fiscal years 2017 through 2019.

When installing left-turn lanes, Gillis said the city could consider installing pedestrian lighting as well, since all the conduit was laid during the Argonne road project completed in 2009.

The SRTC grant requires the city provide 13.5 percent matching funds.

City Attorney Brian Werst said if deemed feasible, the council may have to hold a special session to give Welch approval to pursue the grant before the April 30 deadline.

The council chose not to pursue widening Empire Avenue because of the complexity of the terrain in the residential section.

In other city news, the council gave unanimous support to Millwood Better for Business’s efforts to create a city gateway sign. The council also approved the locations of the proposed signs on the north and south entrances to the city.

“We’ve being working on this concept for quite a while,” said group founder Shirene Young during her presentation. Young said the group plans to gift the sign to the city.

The approved location for the south entrance is city-owned property at the northeast corner of Trent and Argonne, by Walgreens. The north entrance is on the southwest side of the bridge near the corner of Argonne and South Riverway Avenue.

The group is considering commissioning local artist Melissa Cole to create the sign. Cole developed an initial design that incorporates colorful tile mosaics.

“We definitely want to make sure we are incorporating a design that is applicable to Millwood,” Young said.

Young said if Cole is commissioned, a table would be set up during Millwood Daze in August where residents can help create the artwork. They can sign the individual mosaic pieces to be incorporated into the artwork.

The sign is expected to cost $6,000 to $7,500. The estimate does not include the sign’s base, foundation, illumination and mounting. Young said Better for Business plans to raise money for Cole’s fee.

Mayor Kevin Freeman said the city may be able to fund the sign’s structural lighting and foundation costs

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