Pride promoted in 2013
With 2013 winding down, Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson reflected on the completion of the new wastewater treatment plant, the investigation of the sewer lines, the beginnings of the Neighborhood Pride Enhancement Committee, and the first step toward a Wellness Park as some of the city’s accomplishments.
Hinson said that after the presentation from the Housing Task Force during the Washington City Council’s July 17 meeting, several actions have been taken to implement recommendations. The council is still working on many changes as a result of the presentation. Recently the council approved a Neighborhood Pride Enhancement Committee to continue the task force’s work. The first organizational meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the Washington Free Public Library.
“We now have the committee that was set up by council to assist with housing issues and help build neighborhood pride, so that is an accomplishment,” Hinson said. “We spent a lot of time on that.”
The council is also working on a rental inspection code. Hinson said the council will continue that work in the new year.
Hinson said the city also spent quite a bit of time working on street projects. During 2013, the city did a mill and overlay project on South Iowa Avenue. The city also paved West Tyler just north of the new high school. The city also did a mill and overlay on East Madison.
The wastewater plant project and west side interceptor was wrapped up this year, Hinson said. He said the majority of the work was done in 2012, but the former plant was closed in 2013. The plant cost about $15 million, making it one of the most costly projects in Washington’s history. The project was done ahead of schedule thanks to a warm winter that allowed construction crews to work year-round. It was completed a full year ahead of schedule.
The city also focused on identifying any problems with the city’s sewer lines. After hearing from several residents who complained that raw sewage was backing up into their basement during rainstorms, the city doubled its efforts to find any obstructions in the system. Hinson said that the city has not yet found a “smoking gun” in the over 20 miles of underground sewer pipe. The program will continue next year. In 2013, over 7,500 feet were inspected.
“There are a couple of problem areas and we are doing everything we can to address those,” Hinson said. “No one would be happier if there were immediate solutions that us at the city.”
Also during 2013, the city removed two meth-contaminated buildings and is continuing to work on Goncho Apartments. The building was declared a dangerous building earlier this year after meth contamination was found in several apartments. Hinson said that the city is continuing to work with the owner to try to solve the problem. He has heard people saying that the city is going to remove Goncho Apartments as well, but he said that demolishing the building will be a last resort and the city is hoping to find another option.
The proposed Wellness Park may have gotten off the ground this year. The city council approved allowing the Washington Community Y to manage a project to build soccer fields on the city’s land that had been set aside for the park. He said that Sid Ryan, the chair of the Washington Soccer Club, who had originally approached the council for the land, had withdrawn from the project.
In the coming year, Hinson said that the city is going to be working on a new industrial park. He hopes the planning will be complete and the city will be ready to break ground in the spring.
Hinson also said the city will begin its million-gallon above-ground water reservoir. He said that the city will be doing a major water project per year beginning in 2014.