City Council approves State grant for Butte acquisition feasibility study

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Butte acquisition:

City Administrator Wade Ferris stated that before the City approves a resolution to help support purchase the 875 acres of Chelan Butte property that is owned by Golden Gate Ventures (and is currently under a two year hold by a new developer), the City will want to determine any environmental and other issues concerning the property.

The Council approved the City becoming a co-applicant for a Local Community Project request for $300,000 from the 2023 Washington State Capital Budget for a planning grant to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to study issues pertaining to the preservation of the 875 acres on Chelan Butte, options for land acquisition funding, land uses, ownership structure, development and maintenance costs, etc.

This grant would include extensive community engagement and a final report before the City makes a decision to approve a resolution to partner on the purchase.

Erin McCardle asked if there was any matching funds or other financial implications associated with the $300,000 grant? Brian Patterson replied that it was a capital appropriation and no other costs would be associated with the grant.

Boyd Road Property acquisition:

Ferris stated that City staff is in the process of confirming the price of the five acres with the County, the County’s terms, and if there are any issues that would preclude development of the property.

The other issue is confirming that the City can fit the $120,000 purchase price into the budget. Council approved staff to negotiate with the County.

Once all the issues are positively confirmed, staff will present an offer and then a contract for Council approval.

Golf Course Irrigation project:

The Lake Chelan Golf Course has been irrigated with an old system that is now on a Parks Department project list to be replaced with a modern irrigation system.

An analysis of the Lake Chelan Golf Course’s current irrigation system by Mears Design Group found that the system is well below current efficiency standards for golf course irrigation needs

The consultant recommended designing a new irrigation system prioritizing the following elements:

1. Replace irrigation mainline and lateral piping.

2. Incorporate new efficient irrigation sprinkler heads with single head control.

3. Incorporate isolation valves throughout the course system.

4. Incorporate new pump stations with wet wells.

5. Incorporate a central control communication to pump systems.

This recommended course of action was approved by Council via the 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program.

Council authorized the Mayor to accept and approve the extended Professional Services Agreement with Mears Design Group to design a new irrigation system based on consultant recommendations.

Golf and Recreation Rate adjustments:

This issue was addressed in an earlier article, but Paul Horne told the Council that the new adjustments would help bring the rates charged at the golf course closer to market rates.

With regards to the adjustments to the Youth Recreation rates, Horne explained that the City isn’t making any profit off these rates, but adjusting them so the Parks Department breaks even on costs associated with AAU and other youth recreation issues.

Steve Thornton consulting agreement:

The Council authorized Mayor Goedde to finalize and execute a consultant agreement with Thornton to provide his experience and expertise when needed by the City’s new Finance Director, Jackie Tupling while she learns the nuances of the position.

Thornton will be retained for $1,000 per month and when consulting, paid $80 per hour for one year or less as needed.

Mayor/Council Comments:

Tim Hollingsworth attended a meeting of the Town Toyota board where funding for a feasibility of the proposed Regional Recreation Center was discussed. Hollingsworth stated that the Port of Chelan County is trying to pass a new Taxing District that would involve all the North Central Washington cities.

Hollingsworth, who voted no on the issue, said that it was approved by the Board 5-2. “I voted against not paying for another taxing district,” said Hollingsworth. “I’m keeping an open mind, but I didn’t feel it was appropriate.”

John Olson reported that the Downtown Revitalization Committee has hired Beckworth Consulting to continue work on the revitalization project.

He also reported that he, Ferris and Goedde visited a micro house village in Kitsap County where the County has purchased 60 pallet homes for $15,000 each. These little units have two cots and a shelf at the end for some storage, but no bathroom facility or kitchen. “They are very expensive and manufactured in a factory,” said Olson.

Chris Baker gave a shout out the Parks Department and Nordic Ski Club for grooming  cross-country ski trails at the golf course. (The Nordic Club has groomed for classic and skate styles at the course).

Mayor Goedde made a visit to Oliver, BC and reported that Oliver’s mayor would like to reopen the Sister City designation. “It was stopped during the pandemic, but I like the idea,” said Goedde.

He also reported on SJR 8201-22 that amends the State Constitution to allow the legislature to convene a special session upon an affirmative vote of three-fifths of its members.

Goedde also mentioned that if residents have a storm drain that is not working to call Public Works (509-682-8030) and report it so it can be cleaned out to work properly.

Wade Ferris introduced Sgt. Rob Huddleston as the City’s new department head. Huddleston, who had been assigned other duties within the department over the last five years said, “I’m excited to be back up here. A lot of stuff has changed.” He said he will be tackling the continuing parking issues and also reported that Sheriff Morrison is committed to increasing marine patrols on the lake. ‘It is high on his list,” said Huddleston.

Sgt. Rob Huddleston is Chelan’s new boss for the Sheriff’s Department in Chelan.

Jake Youngren, public works director, reported that the Chelan/Douglas County Transportation Council is helping the City find different projects that can be funded. “They have a new Trails Leadership Committee,” said Youngren. “There are some federal programs out there with money.”

Youngren is looking at the Northshore Pathway as a potential priority for that committee and said the pathway would cost in the neighborhood of $50 million to construct. “I’ll let your know. I am appreciative of this committee being put together.” Mayor Goedde added that there are some heavy hitters in that committee.

Paul Horne said there was a big pile of Christmas trees for Winterfest at the park, but are looking for more.

Jackie Tupling reported that the airport is being audited and that the annual report is due in May.

Luis Gonzalez, sitting in for Community Development Director John Ajax reported that business was rather slow with all the snow.

There are plans to move the Planning Department into an area of the Sheriff’s space and Gonzalez said an RFP was going out for design bids on the space.

Wade Ferris said, “Officially as of today we’ve had two months of snow.

He also told the Council that the City was taking steps to remove vehicles that have been illegally parked. “We will concentrate initially on those cars that are not licensed and get them off the streets.”

The next Council meeting will be on January 24 at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

Author: allthingslakechelan

I have been a journalist, photojournalist and reporter in the Lake Chelan Valley since 1988; first with the Wenatchee World, then 15 years at the Lake Chelan Mirror and another 12 years at GoLakeChelan. Currently, I am semi-retired but can't give up the media gig which is why I started All Things Lake Chelan blog. I also have two social media platforms; allthingslakechelan/facebook and lakechelansportsandrecration/facebook. I am also a professional photographer with many credits with major outlets around the world.

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