The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

City asked to consider BMX track


One of the items on the Goldendale City Council agenda last night caused concern to one motivated citizen with a dream. Brock Warner has been preaching the benefits of constructing a BMX track for bicycles in Goldendale, with an eye on a two-acre tract that formerly held the town train depot. The city acquired it from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in 1999. But it showed up on Monday’s council agenda as a proposal to declare it surplus and sell it, putting the property back on the tax roles.

That led Warner to make a heartfelt plea to the council to drop the proposed sale and back his plan to construct a BMX track at that location. In his address to the council, he showed a short video of a bike race at an impressive BMX track and told the council the designer of that track would design a track for Goldendale for just $3,000. Earlier the council said it would match up to $1,500 if Warner could get $1,500 from Klickitat County Commissioners. Warner said he felt he was made a fool by the request, which he reported the County Commissioners rejected, saying they couldn’t give such a contribution to an individual, that the city would have to apply directly. In his talk he noted that he has devoted five years to this project, including countless hours donated to picking up trash in city parks and coaching high school and youth sports, and reminded councilors of the many positive benefits associated with such a track. He also showed a proposed budget to raise the estimated $270,000 to construct the track, including two $90,000 grants he said would be available to shoulder two-thirds of the cost.

Ultimately council members postponed declaring the parcel as surplus and instructed City Administrator Larry Bellamy and other city officials to meet with Brock Warner and examine all city-owned property, to see whether another parcel might be even better suited. Councilors also voted to set aside $3,000 for the plans until a property could be selected. The money would come from funds budgeted for the Festival of Wheels, which will not be put on this year. Council wanted to move quickly, asking for a report by next meeting on May 21.

In other actions, councilors voted to purchase five new patrol cars and one used vehicle for the city police. Chief Reggie Bartkowski told councilors that the city had been falling behind on replacing patrol cars and his fleet. He said that he had five patrol cars from 2008 that kept having problems with the exhaust system that cost $2,000 each time it needed to be fixed. He said some of them had been fixed twice and that was more than enough. He proposed buying five patrol vehicles and one used patrol vehicle. The cost would be $237,000, but Bartkowski noted that the city could borrow $200,000 from the state’s Department of Treasury LOCAL program at one and a half percent interest for five years. Payments of $42,000 per year would be met from the annual $44,000 allocated from the Public Safety Fund for new equipment. The balance of the cost would be covered by sale of the existing vehicles and $22,000 available currently from the Public Safety Fund.

Councilors also approved a contract for harvesting a number of dead trees in the city watershed. Public Works Director Karl Enyeart said that 200 acres are permitted and ready to harvest and an additional 400 acres need to be harvested, “as the forest health is rapidly declining.” He said the city had received one bid from M&M excavating. Under the contract the harvester would keep all the revenue from sale of the trees to pulp mills while covering all road maintenance, permitting costs and brush pile expenses. That was considered a win for the city because the last two months of the previous year’s harvest, the city had to pay the contractor $1 per ton for harvest and road maintenance fees because the price paid by the pulp mills dropped below the cost of harvesting.

Enyeart also reported that this week crews were replacing corner intersections with ADA-approved ramps along South Columbus. Once that’s completed—along with a small project to raise the curb and sidewalk on the west side of the street between Brooks and Darland—it would be time to grind and pave South Columbus. He said it should be finished by June 1, which brought broad smiles to members of the council, and moved Councilor Shannon Middleton to say, “I figure in a month, I can finally fix my struts.”


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