East Wenatchee is moving forward with $1 million in funding for the N Kentucky Ave rehabilitation project.    

The city council approved a plan this week to use an $850,000 loan, and $150,000 grant from the state Public Works Board for design and right of way work on the project.

Public Works Manager Garren Melton says the financial responsibility taken on by the city should help free up state and federal funding for the project. 

"When you have a project that's this big, a lot of funding agencies want to see that the city or county has skin in the game before they're willing to bring money to the table," said Melton. 

The City Council voted to authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Public Works Board for the loan and grant. 

The loan will cover 90% of construction documents and Right of Way procurement for phase 1 of the N Kentucky Ave project, which is from Grant Road to 5th Street NE.  

In addition, the city will complete a 30% design for phase 2, which would connect phase 1 to the 10th Street NE improvements. 

The project is being broken up into two phases for a couple of reasons. 

According to East Wenatchee city staff, the design work on phase 2 will give the city time to determine if heavy stormwater runoff in the steeper phase two section will require enhanced infrastructure in the phase 1 section to treat and retain stormwater. 

Melton also said the project is being divided into phases to make it more fundable. "We don't want a project that sits on the shelf for six years and inflation eats into project costs," said Melton. 

Total cost of the upgrades on N Kentucky Ave is estimated to be $9 million, although Melton has said he believed the costs ballooned to $10 million in 2023. 

It includes replacing pavement on the road and adding sidewalks over the whole project. 

The loan is offered as a 5-year loan, with a 0.69% interest rate. But once the project has raised 30% of the funds needed for construction, the loan may be converted to a 20-year term, with a 1.38% interest rate.  

East Wenatchee city staff recommended the longer loan term to free money for other projects, although there is enough money in the city's Transportation Benefit District (TBD) and Stormwater Funds to handle a 5-year term. 

The first loan payment will be due in June 2024, with future payments due annually in June. 

Mayor Jerrilea Crawford said getting preliminary work done up front should speed up funding for the project. 

"When a community comes with a request for funds, if you've got something that's ready to go, as a whole we're more apt to support and get behind that than somebody who hasn't gotten their studies done, hasn't done any of their design work," said Crawford. 

Until now, the N Kentucky Ave rehabilitation project had been on the books for years without any monetary support at the state or federal level. 

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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals