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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Millwood business owners seek answers on project

Valerie Putnam Correspondent

Questions from the Millwood business community concerning the Argonne Corridor project prompted discussion at the Millwood City Council meeting Monday night.

Dr. Mark Jensen, during his presentation on the Millwood Better for Business group, asked council members numerous questions on how the future of the Argonne Corridor would affect their community and their business. Millwood Better Business Group is a newly formed group that currently consists of 15 Millwood businesses.

“Is this project moving forth meeting the goals of the stakeholders,” Jensen asked referencing the stakeholder meetings held in 2007. “Is it going to benefit our citizens just to resurface this road?”

Welch Comer and Associates, the engineering firm awarded the design phase of the project, has been on the Council’s agenda to give an update on the project for the last three months but has not appeared on all three occasions. Matt Gillis is the company’s project manager.

“Matt needs to show up to one of these meetings,” Councilman Kevin Freeman said concerning a representative of Welch Comer. “I don’t see him here again tonight.”

Eva Colomb, Millwood city clerk/treasurer, said after the meeting that the update is a “boilerplate” on the agenda until the project is completed whether or not any representative is planning to appear. Colomb further added that Gillis plans to attend the next Millwood Better for Business meeting on Jan. 21 to address Jensen’s questions.

Gillis was unavailable for comment when the firm was contacted on Wednesday.

Gillis last updated the council in September. At that time, he asked the council to consider scaling back the scope of the project due to rising construction costs. The council decided to use the $1.3 million grant for a full depth resurface from Frederick to the river. It also decided to resurface the remaining portion of the road later upon acquiring additional funding.

In December, Mayor Dan Mork updated the council on the project by announcing the city received additional funding for pedestrian enhancements to augment the Argonne Corridor road project. The funding comes from a $108,000 Washington State Transportation Improvement Board’s Small City Program Project grant.

Mork said he would contact Welch Comer to ensure a representative will attend the February meeting.

Assistant Fire Chief Larry Rider’s monthly report followed Jensen’s presentation. Rider informed the council on the department’s special levy in February. The three-year levy is for the maintenance and operation costs of the district, which constitutes over 50 percent of their budget.

“We are a property tax driven service,” Rider said.

Voters are asked to approve a rate of $1.59 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This will maintain the overall property tax rate of $3 per $1,000.

In other city news, the council unanimously approved the Memorandum of Agreement for implementing the detailed plan for the Little and Middle Spokane watersheds.

“(The memorandum) is saying we are concerned about the Spokane watersheds,” Mork said explaining the reason it was being presented to the council. “And we want to work together with other jurisdictions to protect that in the best method we can.”

Outlined in the memorandum are 14 different agencies and jurisdictions associated with protecting the two watersheds. Spokane County is listed as the lead agency.

Contact correspondent Valerie Putnamby e-mail at vrputnam@yahoo.com.
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