Council passes hazard plan, approves parade route
The Washington City Council held a public hearing on the adoption of a hazard mitigation plan at its meeting Wednesday night. The hazard mitigation plan includes an analysis of potential hazards in the Washington community and a plan for mitigating those hazards. The council passed it on a 5-0 vote.
The city of Washington is one of the entities that has agreed to the Washington County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan of 2012. That plan was made in response to the federal Disaster Mitigation Act (DMA) of 2000. That act required states and local governments to prepare hazard mitigation plans in order to receive funds in the wake of a presidential disaster or for pre-disaster mitigation.
The hazard mitigation plan includes a list of critical facilities in the city. Those include most of the city’s buildings, such as city hall, fire department and police department. The city’s two water towers, along with its water and wastewater plant, were listed as critical facilities as well.
City Administrator Brent Hinson said that Washington is fortunate in that it does not face many of the hazards that other cities face.
“Luckily, Washington was not built by a river,” he said.
Dave Stoufer and Virginia McCurdy spoke about upcoming Main Street “S.N.O.W.” programs in November and December. They spoke about the Lighted Holiday Parade, which is the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23.
Live entertainment begins that evening with “Let it sing, let it ring, let it glow.” Hot dogs and hot cocoa will be served that night, and horse-drawn hayrack rides will be given. The holiday parade will start at 6 p.m.
Main Street Washington asked the council’s permission to block parking on Washington Boulevard from South Avenue B to South Avenue F. That is where the parade will line up. The parade will advance north on South Avenue B to West Main Street, and then east on Main Street and then make a right turn to the south on Marion Avenue.
A tour bus will visit Washington that night and has asked Main Street Washington for permission to park along the parade route. Main Street has asked the bus to park near the Washington County Courthouse so it will be out of the way.
The former library will be decorated as Santa’s House, where children can meet Jolly Old Saint Nick face-to-face. Santa will appear in person after the holiday parade, and will stick around that whole weekend, from Nov. 23 through Nov. 25.
Santa will be available for questions and gift ideas on the weekend of Dec. 15-16 and once more on Dec. 22-23.
The Jingle Bell Run, which was traditionally the evening of the lighted holiday parade, will be moved to the following morning, Nov. 24. The Main Street representatives said that the runners did not like finishing the race in the dark. The morning of Nov. 24 coincides with “Breakfast with Santa.”
The councilors talked about their impressions of the newly configured West Madison Street. West Madison Street is now a three-lane road instead of a four-lane road which it used to be.
Councilor Merlin Hagie said he has noticed a problem with the three-lane road where West Madison intersects South Second Avenue. Semi-trucks are having to turn into oncoming traffic when they take that corner because of the new configuration.
When a truck is southbound on South Second and it wants to turn west onto West Madison, it has traditionally turned into the inside lane on West Madison. It no longer has that luxury since there are no longer inside and outside lanes. There is only one lane going west and one lane going east. The middle lane is exclusively for turning traffic.
Leland Belding works for Veenstra & Kimm, an engineering firm that is resurfacing roads in Washington, although not West Madison. Belding said that as motorists, including semi-drivers, become more familiar with the configuration, they will get a better feel for how to maneuver on and off the street.
Belding said the idea of a three-lane road, in which oncoming traffic occasionally shares a single lane, can be unnerving, but the three-lane roads are actually quite safe in practice.
“It’s scary at first because everybody thinks the cars will hit head on, but it just doesn’t happen,” he said.