Saturday, June 22, 2024

Bridgeport City Council discusses parking, parties, cemetery policy

RV Park is filling fast

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BRIDGEPORT – Vehicle parking on city rights-of-way, the growing number of event applications, and cemetery policy and practices took up a fair share of discussion as the regular monthly meeting of the Bridgeport City Council last Wednesday, April 19.

RV park host Sue Stanley updated the park status with the news that the park is already 96 percent booked for July and August. There are about 25 Good Sam Clubs in the state and Stanley has sent a blanket email to those located from the Tri-Cities to Bellingham.

“They come in on the shoulder season which for us is May and June and then September-October,” said Stanley. “Anywhere from 15 to 30 of them come for three or four days and they book the site.”

Stanley said she reached out to about seven clubs and is waiting to hear back.

Douglas PUD will be installing new entrance signs to Marina Park and Conklin Landing and a 3 x 5-foot kiosk on the Prickly Pear River Walk Trail.

Cemetery code revision

City clerk/treasurer Judy Brown did a code comparison between Bridgeport and other cities and found several cases where the city needs to revise its code relating to cemetery procedures. Brown went through the city’s existing code and added suggested revisions.

Council members discussed issues from grave digging and interment preparations to cremation plots and grave maintenance.

Superintendent of Public Works Stuart Dezellem said the city is seeing more cremations instead of more expensive full burials. Council member Matthew Schuh inquired about installing a cremation wall, where one could be installed, and adding the wall option to the code. Dezellem suggested that a code provision require that cremation ashes must be placed under the headstone.

Mayor Janet Conklin asked about designating a portion of the cemetery that would allow upright rather than flat memorial stones. The current code allows flat stones only for ease of maintenance, but Dezellem said advances in equipment make it easier to mow around and maintain those sites, so he no longer objects to upright stones.

Decorating an entire gravesite instead of just the grave marker presents a maintenance problem for city crews. Code language was suggested to restrict decorations for ease of maintenance.

A designated area was suggested for donated live trees or bushes as an alternate to planting on graves.

Parking on rights-of-way

Dezellem asked for more code options to deal with the growing number of operable vehicles parked in city rights-of-way and not moved.

“We can’t plow snow, we can’t spray, we can’t do a lot of things with those vehicles in the way and it’s getting to be a real problem.” Dezellem said.

He suggested adding code measures requiring a vehicle parked on a city right-of-way to have current tabs, be insured, and be in a condition to be safely driven on the road. 

Cars are also regularly parked on sidewalks creating a safety hazard for students and pedestrians who must detour into the street to get around them. To compound the problem some are parking perpendicular rather than parallel to get more vehicles in a given space. Those encroach on the street even more.

Commenting on the number of inoperable or cannibalized vehicles parked throughout the city, council member Sergio Orozco joked: “Apparently we have quite a few mechanics here in town.”

“Is that what they are?” a skeptical resident quipped.

Dezellem said he will keep the issue on the council docket and Conklin suggested bringing the Douglas County Sheriff into the conversation to help resolve the more egregious cases.

Let’s have a party!

“We have been inundated with event centers,” said Conklin, “so we want to have an event application fee.”

Up to now the application process has been free, but after the sheriff’s office requested that the city pay a heavy increase to police the events the mayor decided it is time to change the application process.

Schuh said the problem is a convoluted city code that does not clearly define what an event is.

The council agreed that the code must be revisited to more clearly define the definition of events before the city can address an event application fee.

In other business:

• Approved a part-time seasonal park volunteer to help with cleanup and maintenance projects in trade for use of a free RV site during his employment.

• Approved rehiring the temporary office staffer retained last year to complete the update cemetery data and instructions started in 2022.

• Authorized the Revitalization Project contract with Graybeal Signs to proceed with installation of city signs at both ends of the city.

• Approved the member standards policy from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Risk Management Service Agency (RMSA) that provides training for council members and city employees.

• Water Reservoir 2 project has resumed with 42 contract days added.

• TIB is bid going out in early May.

•  Low bidder J.A. Construction pulled out of the public pool repair project.

• Code enforcement is talking action removing vehicles from the properties on both the north and south sides of the 1900 block of Foster Creek Avenue.

• Finished the last five picnic pads at Conklin Landing.


 

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