The Olympia City Council will hear Tuesday about a proposed $325,000 project that would improve sidewalks and install lighting in downtown Olympia.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia. The meeting is open to the public.
“Downtown Olympia features dozens of historic alleyways commonly used as pedestrian pathways,” states a description of the project in City Council meeting documents. “Due to inadequate lighting and line-of-sight issues, the community has experienced an increase of vandalism and nuisance behavior in the alleys. ... This project would light up the 13 most used alleyways in the core of downtown.”
Leonard Bauer, deputy director of the city’s Community Planning and Development department, said the project would likely be paid for through a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Section 108 loan. It’s a program the city became eligible for in 2012.
“This would become the first loan under that program (for the city),” Bauer said.
If the project is approved, about $275,000 of the funding would be used to improve sidewalks along the west half of the south side of State Avenue between Capitol Way and Columbia Street.
In addition, the project would create ADA access ramps on the southeast corner of State and Columbia and pay for street tree removal and replacement.
About $50,000 of the loan would be used to install energy efficient lighting in alleys between State Avenue and Legion Way and Columbia and Cherry streets, Bauer said.
“It’s a pretty big area,” he said. “It would be all of the alleys that don’t have lighting in that area. ... Most of them are not lit.”
The owners of the buildings where the new lights would be installed have agreed to pay for the monthly cost of the electricity, according to a city staff report.
“The hope is this will help address some of the safety concerns for pedestrians and people coming downtown,” Bauer said. “We want to make downtown a safer place and a cleaner place, and lighting will hopefully address some of those concerns.”
The project already has been approved by the city’s Community Renewal Area Ad Hoc Committee.
After Bauer’s report on Tuesday, the council will be asked to open a 30-day comment period and hold a public hearing on the project, Bauer said. The hearing would most likely be Dec. 17, he added.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 firstname.lastname@example.org @Lisa_Pemberton