by Richard Uhlhorn
City Council Meetings can be boring as the Council considers staff requests and decides who to hire or where to spend money. Currently, they are entering into the budget period and there is a lot of talk about various programs that receive money from the City over the course of the year.
On the other hand, the Mayor/Council comment period can get really interesting as members of the Council discuss their personal observations about various projects. This past Tuesday, October 11, Chelan Butte and the Airport Revitalization Project were topics raised by several councilmen.
John Olson said he hoped each council member had a chance to read the many emails regarding the Save the Butte program instigated by the Chelan Basin Conservancy.
Olson had a prepared statement which he read to the Council encouraging them that a clear message has been received from the public to preserve and maintain the open space of Chelan Butte for future generations.
Olson’s statement talked about the $400,000 spent to preserve the last nine acres of open shoreline space in Spader Bay. He wrote, “Now the Council has the opportunity to preserve 900 acres of uplands with a deposit of $500,000 from the City with other funding sources for the purchase.” His example of local efforts to preserve open spaces is the Wenatchee Foothills project.
With the 2020 census count showing Chelan with a population of 4,800 residents and Manson with another 4,600 residents combined with the south shore brings the Valley up to 15,000 residents total.
Other information states that an estimated 50% of homes in the Chelan valley are second homes and those owners are not included in the census numbers.
“Let’s stop the deception and let’s support efforts to preserve what is left before it is all gone,” said Olson.
Tim Hollingsworth acknowledged the letters received by the City, but said he hasn’t seen that much support.. “I’ve been hiking up there for 30 years,” said Hollingsworth. He stated that the trailhead to Elephant Head and the PUD trails are full on Sunday’s. “I have concerns of how the City would manage this property.”
Mayor Goedde said there were a variety of comments by a number of people and the City needs to wrap up their portion of the movement to preserve the Butte.
Wade Ferris said there were 750 landings at the airport so far this month and 4,800 over the course of the year. “It’s a pretty busy airport.”
Hollingsworth asked about the economic impacts and the use of taxpayer dollars to upgrade the airport. “How does that translate to the flow in the community of what we are spending.”
Ferris replied that the City expects a significant impact. Mayor Goedde added that it is not just about the airport. It is about water, hanger expansion and new business opportunities.
Ferris added that the original purpose is to bring the airport into FAA compliance by expanding the runway. “As the Mayor reports, it is about industrial uses out there… maybe some affordable housing too. It is hard to quantify.”
Hollingsworth said the City did an economic survey for the Golf Course. “Why can’t we do one for the airport,” He wants confidence that the City is spending money wisely.
Ferris replied that the City and Port are sharing only 5 percent of the $20 million dollar cost. The FAA is carrying the rest.
ARTS COUNCIL EVENT
Stan Crandall, president of the Lake Chelan Arts Council, told City Council that the Arts Council would be holding an open house at the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce to introduce Jerry McKellar’s latest project for the City.
This Arts Council event will take place on Saturday, October 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. The new sculpture is based on Lake Chelan’s legendary lake monster, Tsilly which is the topic of John Fahey’s new children’s book, Tsilly, The Monster of Lake Chelan, which is based on the legends that have been passed down to the present day.
Put this one on your calendar. It should be a good one.
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Mayor Bob Goedde paid respect to his Mother who died of breast cancer after an 18 month battle by reading into the record a proclamation about the 2022 Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
As the second leading cause of death amongst women, Mayor Goedde urged all women to avail themselves to getting a mammogram.
Executive Assistant of Special Projects for the NCW Regional Library System, Tim Dillman and Facilities Manager Amanda Lawson were on hand at the City Council to present a $10.3 million dollar upgrade to library facilities and programs with $7.5 million dedicated to facilities. “We are hoping to meet the needs of the public in the five county region,” said Tillman. “Chelan is fortunate to have great spaces.”