Black Diamond’s city council talked fireworks, parks and more than $32 million of dollars in upcoming transportation projects at their Thursday meeting June 2.
The meeting saw a public comment hearing for the city’s Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), which laid out more than $32 million in transportation projects through 2028.
TIPs help cities budget for major road projects that their own coffers would be unable to pay for entirely. Cities must adopt a new six-year plan annually, laying out their major transportation projects and how they plan to pay for them. Those plans then, in turn, allow cities to be eligible for state and federal grants.
In Black Diamond’s case, the biggest of those projects reach into the millions. Prime among them is the estimated $10 million project to build a roundabout at the Roberts Drive / SR 169 / Black Diamond-Ravensdale Road intersection just north of downtown. The area handles traffic from Ten Trails, SR 169 commuters, and other residents of Black Diamond and Ravensdale. The work, projected to start next year, will be paid by developer mitigation (Ten Trails developer Oakpointe) along with “possible grant funding,” according to the city.
Among the other big-ticket items, there’s a $2.3 million plan to replace three failing culverts at Covington Creek and SE 297th Street with a new bridge and road improvements, funded through the King County Flood Control District; An estimated $2.1 million from a Safe Routes to School Grant and city funds will build a new sidewalk with stormwater facilities on the east side of 228th Ave. SE; And another $2 million, using city funds and state transportation improvement board funds, is estimated for reconstructing Roberts Drive from the library to SR 169.
There are also smaller but by no means unimportant projects on deck too, like patching up roads and bridges, building new crosswalks, bike lanes and pedestrian facilities, exploring parking options downtown and improving intersections.
Kristen Bryant, giving comment on behalf of the Friends of Black Diamond group, thanked the council for prioritizing pedestrian access and safety near Sawyer Woods elementary and said the city must continue to prioritize pedestrian safety, especially at projects like the new roundabout offering access to Ten Trails from SR 169.
“Regulations on the books are not enough,” Bryant said. “Funding and changes to roadways are needed to prevent collisions, save lives and increase the health of our community.”
COMMISSIONER NOMINATION FALLS THROUGH
Earlier in the night, the city council hit an impasse on appointing former city councilmember Janie Edelman as a Civil Service commissioner for the city. Edelman was the only person who applied for the position, which is an independent government wing responsible for assisting in hiring and discipline decisions, specifically at the police department.
Mayor Carol Benson had asked the council to appoint Edelman, who, if appointed, would only be serving through the end of the year. Councilmember Leih Mulvihill motioned to approve Edelman for the term, and Tamie Deady seconded.
However, councilmembers tied in a 3-3 vote on whether or not to confirm her. Mulvihill, Deady and Debbie Page voted for Edelman’s appointment, but council members Bernie O’Donnell, Kristiana de Leon and Trish Stallard voted against it.
Stallard shared concerns that the city didn’t provide enough availability for more citizens to apply to the job, since the commission’s meeting time is 11 a.m. on a weekday.
“Because the meetings are at this time, we normally get our retired residents who are volunteering,” she said.
de Leon echoed those thoughts, and O’Donnell said he’d like to have more information on Edelman’s qualifications for the position: “I don’t want to say she’s not qualified; I just don’t know.”
“I’m hesitant on this,” de Leon said. “I would rather that we do it right than just … fill a seat.”
With Mayor Carol Benson and council member Therron Smith unavailable for the meeting, the tie couldn’t be broken, so the motion failed.
Also on Thursday, the council…
• Discussed potential locations for a new city campus, which could include open space for the public. Three sites are under consideration – one along Robert’s Drive, and another two along SR 169. The campus could be between 2.5 and 5 acres, depending on what amenities the community wants. Councilmember O’Donnell cautioned that the public needs a chance to weigh in on the project.
• Discussed city policy on fireworks. No action was taken.
• Discussed the city’s parks, recreation and open space plan. No action was taken, but a public hearing will be held at the next regular meeting.
• Held the promotion of Black Diamond police officer Lacey Del Valle to the role of sergeant.