Capital improvement projects for city focus on completing upgrades and expanding capacity
RIDGEFIELD — The city of Ridgefield has maintained its reputation as the fastest growing city in Washington, and in 2020 upgrading facilities and expanding capacity for crucial resources are at the top of the capital improvement project list.
“It’s take care of what we have, and meet the needs of a growing community,” said Ridgefield City Manager Steve Stuart. “That said, a lot of our work goes into making sure that those qualities that brought people here in the first place, maintain. We have this rapidly growing community, but a lot of people are coming for that small town charm.”
Listed in the now available 2020 Proposed Budget, the city is undertaking projects in every area from greater water capacity to recreation. Funding sources are slated to be from each topic specific fund.
Water and stormwater
The city plans on expanding capacity for water and water storage in several ways this year. Most notably are the installation of a new well in Abrams Park and updated pumps.
The Abrams Park well, known as Well 11, was drilled last year, and will soon have a pump and be connected to the main system for treatment and dispersal. In addition, variable frequency drive pumps are to be installed at the I-5 junction well that was completed in 2016. This system will allow Public Works to better control operations and have higher efficiency.
“With the growth there’s obviously a continued demand for water. As new houses come in, we need to expand our water source capacity,” said Bryan Kast, director of Ridgefield Public Works. “We’re hoping to … explore partnering with Clark Public Utilities as well as continue to seek our own wells and water rights. We have a sort of an ongoing project of acquiring some water rights down at the southern area of the city that we’re going to hopefully wrap up this year so that we can put those to use, drill some wells down there.”
Stormwater upgrades, while planned, do not altogether appear in the 2020 budget, since trust funds were secured after it’s finalization. Even so, the city is moving forward with seven major stormwater upgrades for the downtown area.
Pre-design will begin shortly, Kast said, and the city will seek to secure grants to fund the eventual construction of the stormwater upgrades. The projects are each a part of the city’s Stormwater Capital Facilities Plan.
“Those projects sort of range from stormwater treatment, retrofit,” Kast said. “Basically this area of town, it’s been developed since, you know, early 1900s, and well before there was any storm water regulation. Before the water is discharged to Lake River, it is treated and then just several projects that involve sort of historic trouble spots where we have issues with ponding or flooding.”
The city also secured Community Development Block Grant funds to replace the water lines on South 3rd Street, near downtown. The 67-year-old pipes are no longer adequate for the neighborhood and surrounding area, Kast said.
“We’ll be replacing the water line, repaving the street and then adding in some stormwater infrastructure where there didn’t used to be any,” Kast said. “There’s not even any gutters along the road. Water flows off the street and into people’s yards. We’re going to add in a curb and drainage system, and rain gardens to treat that water before it hits the stormwater system.”
Additionally, remote water meter reading will be posed in 2020, much like in Washougal. This upgrade is aimed at allocating more time to other ventures instead of manually traveling to read meters for businesses and residences. Inspection and cleaning of the Ridgefield High School and city cemetery reservoirs is also on the docket for 2020.
Transportation and trails
In the realm of transportation, the city will focus on revamping several streets in need of repairs as well as performing maintenance on trails and pathways often used by residents.
Within the purview of the proposed budget, the city plans to update and add to existing wayfinding signage as well as perform a pavement condition index and 219th Street interchange planning study. South 3rd Avenue is also slated for construction improvements.
Coming in after the closure of the proposed budget, and funded through “late breaking grants,” are a few more projects, mostly centered on the Hillhurst Street area. The street from South 6th Avenue to Great Blue Drive will be updated and resurfaced. The project will be largely funded through a half a million dollar grant from the Transportation Improvement Board.
“It’s about a $650,000 project or so total, so we’re excited about that,” Kast said. “That road’s in need of some repairs, and transportation and maintenance funding is always hard to come by. We were very happy to get that. So that will really help that road look a lot better and function a lot better.”
Perhaps the most unique of all the city’s projects for the year is the ongoing private-public partnerships surrounding the area now being developed near Rosauers Supermarket. Specifically, Royal Road will be expanded and improved through these partnerships, mainly with the developer (FDM Development).
“All of the developers along Royal Road are required by the city to pay in to the improvements to the road to get it to an urban standard,” Stuart said. “Because that road was built for a small rural community and not for the traffic it’s handling now and in the future. That one’s a big one for council certainly as a priority to really meet those emerging needs.”
Gee Creek Trail that runs through Abrams Park will also receive some attention. The city received a $100,000 grant to update and improve the wooded walkway, as well as to do stabilization maintenance on Gee Creek itself.
Facilities, parks and recreation
The newest shining gem of the Ridgefield area, the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreational Complex (RORC) will have it’s fence issues put to rest very soon. After a successful first season with the Ridgefield Raptors and vibrant partnership with the Ridgefield School District, the fencing surrounding the complex will be redone so as to not be knocked down in high, summer winds.
The two largest park projects to be launched or continued in 2020 will be the Overlook Park and Horns Corner Community Park. The latter will be a brand new 10-acre park built from green spaces, natural areas and active recreation spaces.
Horns Corner will be located near the new multi-family housing and development along Pioneer Street. It’s construction is a part of the 40-acre master plan that included the apartments and the mixed commercial use area around Rosauers.
“So if you look at that area, there are more people in that area. And so the specific plan has been to make sure that there are those services and amenities worked on,” Stuart said. “We’re building parks that fit that small town charm.”
Overlook Park will soon enter a design and planning stage as well, with the annexation of a section of land next to it. The Port of Ridgefield is currently beginning construction of a bridge nearby with Tapani, and the city hopes to have the park expansion started around the same time the bridge is completed. Among other ideas, a splash pad has been submitted for inclusion.