The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Council plans meetings for park development


April 11, 2019

Rick Nelson

Council Member Sue Cameron presented a slide show to explain her suggestion that the town council hold public meetings to gather input on how to develop a park on the Butler Street parking lot.

Members of the Cathlamet Town Council on Monday hashed out how they want to start design of a park on a controversial parcel at the corner of Butler and Main streets.

The town acquired the lot, the site of a former gas station most recently used as a parking lot, last year in a process that led to a recall proceeding against three council members, Sue Cameron, Jean Burnham and Ryan Smith. Toward the end of the purchase process, the council members and Mayor Dale Jacbson announced they planned to turn the parking lot into a park.

The lot had been contaminated by a leaking underground gas tank but it has been cleaned and can be used as a park as long as a contaminated area along one edge isn't disturbed, the council has said.

With Mayor Jacobson out of town, Burnham, the mayor pro tem, chaired the meeting, stating that she hoped the council could come up with a few concepts that could be the basis of future planning.

Cameron, however, had a different idea. She suggested the council host workshops in which the public could suggest facilities and other design elements for the park. This process would resemble the process used to develop the phased plans for a waterfront park on the site of the town's former sewer lagoons. The Butler Street lot is much smaller than the waterfront park and should proceed quickly, Cameron said.

Council Member Laurel Waller supported Cameron's suggestion. Burnham countered that she thought the purpose of the Monday meeting was to develop initial concepts, but after discussion, the council agreed to proceed with Cameron's suggestion.

Meetings to gather public input were scheduled for 2-5 p.m. April 19 and 26 in the River Street Meeting Room; another would be held May 3, if necessary. A facilitator will guide the meetings.

The council members--Burnham, Cameron, Waller and Ryan Smith--offered their ideas of what could be located on the park--grass, benches, an information kiosk, a gazebo or other type of covered area, and so on.

Burnham commented that people have suggested to her that there also be a few parking spaces on the lot, which could benefit people with mobility issues.

Acting Clerk/Treasurer Sylvia Costich urged the council to provide an estimated budget for the project so that she could include it in a budget amendment she is preparing.

Town Attorney Fred Johnson commented that the council could avoid a major contract and call for bids by keeping the total cost under $35,000. By doing that, the park could be constructed by town personnel or by hiring contractors from the small works roster.

The council will hold their regular monthly meeting on Monday, 6 p.m., in the DeBriae Fire Hall Meeting Room.


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