Sunday, February 25, 2024

NCRL Director is guest speaker

Bridgeport Council continues discussion over future of Atomic Way


BRIDGEPORT – Barbara Walters, the newly appointed executive director of the North Central Regional Library stopped by the regular monthly meeting of the Bridgeport City Council last Wednesday, Sept. 19. Walters, who assumed her new post last July, has been involved with the NCRL administration for the past 11 years.

Walters began by reminding ing council members that NCRL has 30 locations in five counties, Douglas, Okanogan, Chelan, Ferry and Grant.

NCRL was created in 1960 and serves more than a quarter million users in its 14,000-plus square mile service area with a selection of more than 700,000 books and materials. Covering one-fifth of Washington’s geographical area, NCRL is the state’s largest library.

Walters acknowledged the great job being done by Bridgeport’s librarian, Michelle Orosco, and said one of her goals is to try to hire more staff to help associates like Orosco, the only paid employee at the Bridgeport branch.

Walters spoke about the NCRL’s STEM program, summer reading, bilingual, audio and eBooks, school outreach, and other services.

The council continued to wrestle with a resolution to property on Atomic Way where owner Scott Wright wants to combine two lots he owns to make the site usable, buildable, and more of an asset to the city.

An Atomic Way Study Committee comprised of council members Anthony Perkins and Phil Lee has been examining options to satisfy the interests of private property owners, the city, and the PUD.

Council member Matt Schuh reminded everyone that the property in question is zoned tourist/commercial rather than residential.

Public Works Superintendent Stuart Dezellem clarified that Atomic Way is a designated road.
“It’s a platted right-of-way, so it is a road,” said Dezellem. “It’s not developed for vehicular traffic, but it is a road.”

Dezellem advised against regulating one or two blocks of property without taking similar actions on other similar parcels in the city.

“If you are going to narrow setbacks it needs to be done throughout the entire zone.” Dezellem said.

Wright said if he can acquire Atomic Way he will pursue the purchase of the adjacent parcels to make it one large piece of property.

“The way it is it can’t be built on because of the setbacks from the street,” said Wright adding that combining the parcels “would make one of the nicest pieces in the town of Bridgeport.”

Committee member Phil Lee said the city has three options as he sees the dilemma.

“We can either vacate that whole thing or vacate part of that street and retain 10 or 15 feet of it for access to the river,” said Lee. “The third alternative is to go on like we are.”

“A right-of-way is a legal abstract that lays on top of the dirt,” said Dezellem. “the vacation removes that legal ownership to the city and the dirt is adjoined and becomes fee land.”

Following a prolonged discussion about easements, rights-of-way, property setbacks, appraisals, and liability issues the council decided to confer with city planner Kurt Danison and advise Wright of further developments.

In other business, council members set budget workshop dates for 6 p.m. on Oct. 2 and Oct. 22, and a public hearing for testimony on the 2019 preliminary budget at 7 p.m., Oct. 17.

Conklin asked council members to consider entering into an interlocal agreement with the Town of Mansfield for animal control services on an on-call basis. Conklin agreed that the extra travel and administrative costs to Bridgeport would be calculated and included in the proposal.

Dezellem shared results of a three-day radar speed control survey made on the 700 block of Columbia as one example of traffic flow and speeds in the city.

The results showed that 85 percent of the traffic traveling Columbia in a 12-hour period from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. drove at 30 miles per hour, five mph over the posted speed limit.

“In three days, we had 3,831 traffic counts, that’s 1,300 a day,” said Dezellem. “What this tells us is that we may need to raise the speed limit from 25 to 30 miles per hour on Columbia.”


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