Town Of Friday Harbor Plans $40 Million Worth Of Capital Projects Over Next Eight Years

Posted April 10, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Photo/Peggy Sue McRae. Road Construction on Tucker Avenue. 

Plans Include Pocket Park Near Grange, Sidewalks on Lampard


By Dun­can Wil­son, Town of Fri­day Har­bor Administrator

Year after year, the ser­vices and respon­si­bil­i­ties under­tak­en by the Town of Fri­day Har­bor grow as pop­u­la­tion and busi­ness activ­i­ty increase.

Beyond dai­ly town oper­a­tions that include admin­is­tra­tion, finance and com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment, our most expen­sive and com­plex duties involve the con­struc­tion, recon­struc­tion and improve­ments relat­ed to our cap­i­tal infra­struc­ture. These costs are vast, and our needs never-ending.

The town has finite rev­enues from which to work, and there­fore must pri­or­i­tize, save and bat­tle for dwin­dling grants from state and fed­er­al sources. The cur­rent cost esti­mate for cap­i­tal projects need­ed in the next eight years exceeds $40 million.

Dis­cus­sions relat­ing to man­dat­ed and nec­es­sary cap­i­tal infra­struc­ture projects will occur more often and the town will require the under­stand­ing and coop­er­a­tion of our res­i­dents and busi­ness owners.

The need for addi­tion­al rev­enue is grow­ing and, unfor­tu­nate­ly, is inverse to the avail­abil­i­ty of grant fund­ing from out­side sources. It is impor­tant to note that these projects are to ben­e­fit the entire com­mu­ni­ty and are designed to make our lives here better.

We have made great progress over the last eight years in tack­ling the chal­lenges of main­tain­ing and build­ing our streets, water and sew­er sys­tems. Much if not most of this work would not have been pos­si­ble with­out ded­i­cat­ed and con­stant efforts to earn major grant funding.

While many projects can eas­i­ly be seen, not so obvi­ous are the crit­i­cal improve­ments to the under­ground util­i­ty sys­tems that guar­an­tee us fresh water and pro­tect us from dis­as­trous sew­er and stormwa­ter events.

Right now, crews are improv­ing the road sur­face on Mullis from Mar­ket to Spring Street, as well as adding a round­about at Mullis and Spring, and refur­bish­ing down­town Spring Street, includ­ing adding a new sew­er main and stormwa­ter improvements.

In the future, a pock­et park by the Grange Hall and side­walks on Lam­pard will be added, crews will resur­face First Street, an exten­sion of Nash Street, replace the sew­er out­fall line in the har­bor off Mac­don­ald Street, com­plete the $14.5 mil­lion of upgrades to the sew­er plant, and pur­chase San Juan County’s Pub­lic Works prop­er­ty on Guard Street.

Addi­tion­al rev­enues and grant fund­ing will be nec­es­sary to con­tin­ue our efforts to pro­vide high-qual­i­ty, func­tion­al infra­struc­ture to main­tain the qual­i­ty of life in Fri­day Harbor.

Recov­ery from the pan­dem­ic cri­sis that impact­ed busi­ness activ­i­ties and sales tax rev­enue, and the approval of the Fire Dis­trict 3 annex­a­tion are just two of the ways the town hopes to increase fund­ing to meet the demands of these ongo­ing crit­i­cal needs.

The fol­low­ing are exam­ples of the work com­plet­ed through­out town dur­ing the past eight years:

Ener­gy improve­ments: Street light con­ver­sion to LED, ener­gy effi­cien­cy upgrades to town offices and plants, and instal­la­tion of a large solar array at the waste­water treat­ment plant.

Parks improve­ments: Addi­tion of Breeze­way (pock­et) Park on Spring Street, a tot play lot at Sunken Park and hol­i­day lights in the elms at Memo­r­i­al Park. Resur­fac­ing of ath­let­ic courts in Sunken and Cahail Parks and a refur­bish of Over­look Park.

Water improve­ments: Com­plete replace­ment of the water trans­mis­sion line from the dam to town, the addi­tion of a water plant emer­gency pow­er gen­er­a­tor, and replace­ment of a Spring Street water main.

Sew­er improve­ments: Major improve­ments to the plant’s pre-treat­ment “head­works,” the addi­tion of ter­tiary fil­tra­tion and con­vey­or belt sys­tem, and com­plete replace­ment of major sew­er mains on Spring and Blair.

Street improve­ments: Full recon­struc­tion of Blair and Tuck­er Avenues; round­about traf­fic improve­ment at Spring and Argyle; new side­walks on Park, Reed, Web, and Nichols Streets and Mar­guerite Place; widen­ing of side­walks near the Fair­grounds on Argyle Avenue; improved safe­ty mea­sures at the Spring and Lam­pard cross­ing; the addi­tion of flash­ing light cross­walks and motion-acti­vat­ed speed signs; realign­ment and improve­ments of Caines Street and the Nichols and Web neigh­bor­hoods; and chip seal­ing and resur­fac­ing of Argyle Avenue, low­er Mar­guerite Place, Price Street, and Sec­ond Street.

These are only some of the many cap­i­tal projects we have com­plet­ed or are look­ing to do in the near future.

We thank the busi­ness­es and res­i­dents for their patience and assis­tance as we con­tin­ue to make Fri­day Har­bor the best place to live and work in the state of Washington.

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One comment...

  1. These are excel­lent goals. But they are not nor­mal­ly part of the oper­at­ing bud­get. On the oth­er hand, the fire dis­trict con­tract elim­i­na­tion goes right to the oper­at­ing bud­get. Town res­i­dents need some relief from the exor­bi­tant util­i­ty fees. Sure­ly some of the costs cur­rent­ly born by util­i­ty users could be shift­ed to the oper­at­ing bud­get with the sav­ings from the fire con­tract elim­i­na­tion. Oth­er­wise town res­i­dents are being asked to pay more prop­er­ty tax­es for fire with no reduc­tion of oth­er month­ly costs to live in the town. These util­i­ty fees sig­nif­i­cant­ly affect the afford­abil­i­ty of hous­ing. If even a por­tion of what the cur­rent fed­er­al gov­ern­ment pro­pos­es for infra­struc­ture spend­ing reach­es the local lev­el, it seems unlike­ly that oth­er funds for cap­i­tal projects will dry up any time soon.

    Comment by Dan Zaehring on April 11, 2021 at 7:54 pm

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