CLOSED NOW -- OPEN FRIDAY - Town Hall will open Friday after the mold that has spread from the bank vault into the front office is removed, the rooms cleaned and everything is back in shape to be open for business. Call Town Hall Friday to check in before making the trip. - Photo by Ken Stern
Town Hall will be closed through April 18. That was the surprise agenda item at La Conner’s April 9 Town Council meeting. The closure dates were announced on the Town’s website April 10. Mold in the Town Hall bank vault has spread into the front reception area. It requires immediate maintenance to ensure staff safety. Signs were on the front doors before the end of last week. Closure started Tuesday. Administrator Scott Thomas did not yet have a repair agreement at the meeting. SERVPRO quoted $10,485 for the project. It was the only response to a request for proposals. Council approved having the Mayor sign the completed agreement so the work could proceed. Council will ratify the final agreement April 26. The former Kirsch property wasn’t on the agenda but was discussed. Resident Dan O’Donnell urged Council “in the strongest possible terms to reconsider selling the Kirsch property,” the North First Street lot the Town owns across from the Swinomish Yacht Club. He had been on the 2001 Council that approved the purchase for a park. The Park Commissioners asked for additional property next to the Jordan Street end, otherwise “you can’t have horseshoes or BBQ and there would be shadows on the property,” he recalled. O’Donnell suggested the Town sell property on South Fourth Street “if they want to make money.” At the meeting’s end, Mayor Ramon Hayes brought up the former Kirsch property, “to make it clear that Council did not agree to sell the property. The agreement was to list the property. Even a full purchase price sale would have to be voted on.” He noted that the finance committee had met to discuss the pros and cons of selling or developing the property. An estimate of at least $250,000 to prepare the property for development had been made years earlier. Hayes wants “a public process so people can speak for and against the sale,” and the next Council meeting will include time for public comment. In his mayor’s report Hayes brought up the Moore Clark building on the channel south of Maple Hall, telling council that he and Town Administrator Scott Thomas had a “two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the owners.” The goal for the property is for high end residential, with density, and retail, Hayes said in response to Councilmember Bill Stokes question. Council approved Hayes signing an agreement with thyssenkrupp for $149,000 to “modernize the elevator equipment” to get the Maple Hall elevator working. The proposal does not include a schedule estimating completion but list times totaling 20 weeks for project components. This agreement follows Hayes signing an initial contract in January for $83,709. Almost $155,000 is budgeted for elevator repair. Council continued its discussion of providing Crown Castle a cell tower lease extension. A vote on an agreement will be on the April 23 meeting agenda. Brian Lease, public works director, brought up the safe routes to school project, focusing on Maple Ave. “There’s money budgeted this year to maybe rework the plans,” Lease said. Fire Chief Aaron Reinstra reported the annual Easter Egg Hunt in Pioneer Park hosted by the La Conner Firemen’s Association will start at 10 a.m. April 20. Hayes gave an update on State funding for a new library: The House of Representatives budgeted $720,000. The Senate has yet to vote on their capital budget. Council adjourned at 6:54 p.m. and transitioned to a joint meeting with the Planning Commission. Planning Commission coverage next week.