March 5, 2009

In Washburn's best interests

By Brenda L. Shelkey

Washburn residents may feel like they are struggling to find their way in a fog as they work to understand the projected street improvement projects for 2009. Unfortunately, the greatest roadblock to progress is fear of the unknown. Major street improvements have not been initiated in Washburn in twenty or thirty years, leaving residents frustrated by a process that they haven’t dealt with in their life time. Because commissioners were aware that Washburn’s streets hadn’t been given much attention and knew there were problems, they met with Toman Engineering and Maintenance Supervisor Larry Thomas to do a street inventory. Toman engineers walked every street in town and documented all the areas of concern, street by street. Street Commissioner Kim Klaudt explained that the street inventory and all plans and engineering for the street projects are available at City Hall if residents would like to come down and take a look at them. With the inventory in place, commissioners developed a ten year plan to address street repairs in stages, working with the worst problems first. The first stage of the plan includes three specific areas: the Seventh Street and Sixth Avenue project, the Renner Addition and the Sundown Addition. Currently, the last two are under protest by residents and commissioners are concerned that residents are responding with a protest more because they are making decisions based on emotion and rumor than on the facts. Given some of the facts behind the decision to follow through on the projects, residents might decide to reconsider their protest.

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