The city of Pasco will help residents with rebuilding dilapidated fences running along Interstate 182.
The "Surewood" fencing initially installed behind a subdivision has sections missing or areas where graffiti was painted over with mismatched paint in a stretch along the freeway between Roads 68 and 100.
The city council approved a plan at its Monday meeting where Pasco will provide workers to replace the fence with cedar fence, with the owners of the 16 homes with fences facing the interstate paying for materials.
The 7-0 vote by the council also created uniform standards for the fencing.
"It's part of the gateway into the city and it looks terrible," Rick Terway, Pasco administrative and community services director, said of the fences along the interstate.
A bike path runs between the fences and the interstate.
The city formed a committee in 2011 to look at alternatives to the Surewood fencing because the existing product was becoming brittle and could not be replaced because it is no longer manufactured. Terway said the committee determined cedar was a good alternative because it is durable and allows graffiti to easily be painted over.
The city first replaced the Surewood fence that faced Roads 100 and 84, Terway said. That project is nearing completion.
The fence will cost residents $5 per foot. Homes along the interstate have fences stretching from a minimum of 20 feet, or a cost of $100, up to 163 feet, or $815.
Councilman Al Yenney wanted to see the city go further and address discolored cedar fencing now in place to the east of the Surewood fence. He even said he wouldn't vote for any more street beautification projects elsewhere in the city until the I-182 area is improved.
"We've spent millions of dollars in the city trying to improve our appearance, and yet you drive by that fence on 182, and that fence is horrendous," he said.
The existing cedar fence has a strong foundation, but is discolored in places, Terway said.
Mayor Matt Watkins asked staff to look at costs to address the discoloring in the cedar fence.
The city will either use staff or a volunteer group to replace the fence. Terway said work should start this fall and shouldn't take more than a day.
-- The council approved a special permit for an AT&T cellular tower at 9915 W. Argent Road. Rick White, the city's community and economic development director, said the tower would be built atop the Desert Springs Covenant Church and made to blend in with the building.
Councilman Tom Larsen cast the lone dissenting vote in the 6-1 decision. He read uncited information he found on the Internet that said the towers could provide a health hazard.
Watkins responded that "the Internet's a big place."
"Anyone can post information on the Internet whether it's valid or not," he said.
-- The council approved a special permit for Bethel Church to operate a preschool at 5202 Outlet Drive. White said the preschool will take up 2,000 feet of the 18,000-square-foot church in the outlet mall.
-- The council approved a design and engineering contract with HDR Engineering Inc. of Pasco for a third primary clarifier at the wastewater treatment plant for $239,000. The clarifier is being built to meet new Department of Ecology standards.
-- The council approved a road construction project along Sandifur Parkway in the northwestern part of the city. The $600,000 contract with Inland Asphalt Co. of Richland will include putting in hot mix asphalt concrete and pedestrian ramps.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; email@example.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom