West Richland has hired an Indianapolis consulting firm to help develop a vision for the city's parks and recreation areas.
Councilman Ken Dobbin said at Tuesday's West Richland City Council meeting that he wants to be sure the city's park board would be getting the tools it needs for the $58,070 price tag to hire PROS Consulting to do a major upgrade of the city's park and recreation plan.
Councilman Merle Johnson pointed out that "a plan is only as good as the people who implement it," and said that the city has had a comprehensive parks plan for five years that's never been implemented.
David DeRosa said he and other park board members have struggled for two years to prioritize ideas gathered from West Richland residents as to what they want -- skate parks, water parks, trails.
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"Parks are a valuable resource to West Richland, they're important to our community, to our visitors," he said. "This consultant will involve the community through a series of meetings which will help us make good decisions."
The council, with one dissenting vote from Johnson, voted to approve the contract with PROS Consulting.
-- The council heard a first reading of an ordinance amending the dates and times allowed to set off fireworks.
The proposed dates and times for setting them off are noon to 11 p.m. June 28-29, July 1-3 and July 5; noon to midnight July 4; and 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1.
A.J. Hill, a commissioner with Benton Fire District 4, said reducing the number of hours and days fireworks can be used "is a step in the right direction but the biggest concern (for firefighters) is July 4 itself."
Aerial fireworks are the greatest concern, he said. "They can easily travel far from where they were shot off and you won't know where they land," he said.
He suggested West Richland do a citywide fireworks event with trained people in charge.
The council voted to have a second reading of the proposed ordinance at the next meeting April 18.
-- The council awarded a $42,980 contract to BCV Inc. to seal cracks in the city's roadways.
The streets to be sealed include parts of Kennedy and Keene roads and streets between Keene Road and Van Giesen Street.
-- The council awarded a $314,249 contract to Big D's Construction to upgrade the water and sewer lines along Van Giesen. The work will be done in conjunction with the grinding and overlaying work the state Department of Transportation is doing along Van Giesen from Highway 240 in Richland to the West Richland Post Office in July.
City workers also will add more fire hydrants and extend services to vacant lots along Van Giesen.
-- The council also voted to declare an emergency generator received through a federal grant as surplus. It was received with help from Benton County Emergency Management in October 2007 at a cost of $23,566 and put in storage.
In fall 2010, the city received an estimate of $125,000 to install it. After weighing the benefits of having a back-up generator and the costs of installation and maintenance, city staff recommended making it available to another public service entity.