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Saturday, March 2, 2024
March 2, 2024

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Washougal considers ‘preferred’ option for town center project with outdoor community space near future library

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WASHOUGAL — Washougal City Council members are leaning toward one design option for the city’s future Town Center Revitalization Project, but said they will require more detailed information before making a final decision.

On Nov. 20, representatives from the engineering and landscape architecture firms the city hired to design the project revealed their initial diagrams and timeline to the Washougal City Council.

“We’re really excited about jump-starting this and getting this project going,” Washougal Mayor David Stuebe said. “This is going to be huge for us, and we want to do it right.”

City officials introduced their plans for the project in May 2022. They say an enhanced civic center will improve the quality of life in Washougal and promote the city’s economic growth.

The project includes an enhanced outdoor community space, an off-leash dog park, a pocket park with a potential splash pad or water feature, and expanded public parking near a new library, the Washougal Community Center and City Hall.

“We are still at the very beginning stages, (but) we are happy to be here and happy to be part of the process to make such a unique, special project come to fruition,” said Jeremy Fick, a civil engineer for Vancouver-based Robertson Fick Engineering.

Fick and Nate Otani, a principal designer for Portland-based landscape architecture firm Shapiro-Didway, showed three design options to the Washougal City Council during a Nov. 20 workshop, telling council members that they hoped to gather the council’s feedback.

“We’ve broken up and dispersed the parking and brought the pedestrian and community spaces to the heart of the project just east of the community center,” Otani said of the designers’ preferred option.

Council is on board

Council members said they also generally favored that option.

“I’m fully in favor of trying to utilize all this space very well,” Washougal City Councilwoman Molly Coston said. “Personally, I (have) a preference of people over pets, although I am fully supportive of a dog park.”

Coston said she also supports additional parking and said she believes the city will need more, not fewer, parking spaces in 10 years.

“I don’t think we’ll be a driverless-car community quite yet at that point,” Coston said.

“The design will continue on through about the summer of next year, and then it will go through some permitting phases in bidding, and that will set us up for construction in 2025,” Fick said.

The project will be mostly funded by a Department of Commerce grant, American Rescue Plan Act funds, donations, real estate excise taxes and park impact fees.

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