Inslee making stop in Ephrata today

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Inslee

EPHRATA — Gov. Jay Inslee is stopping in Ephrata today to hear about the city’s suspended waterline project and the effort to save pygmy rabbits during a recent fire.

Inslee, along with Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, and Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, will visit Ephrata City Hall to hear about the city’s stalled waterline project. City staff will be delivering a short presentation on the Basin Street Water Main Replacement, which is a $3 million, 3-mile replacement of the city’s 70-year-old primary waterline.

The city obtained funding for the project through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program. The project and funding were put on hold July 21, when the Legislature failed to pass a capital budget. The project itself has been in the works for several years. It was first authorized in December 2011, with the plans approved in August 2016, local funding established in December 2016, a public hearing held in January 2017, opening for bids started in June 2017 and the bid awarded in July 2017.

The project includes fire hydrants, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk crossings, valves and asphalt paving.

“Mayor (Bruce) Reim and the Ephrata City Council have strongly urged all parties in Olympia to continue negotiating. When an agreement is reached, Gov. Inslee can call another special session to pass the capital budget. The community of Ephrata trusts that, even through small meetings like this, a bipartisan compromise solution might eventually be achieved,” Ephrata City Administrator Wes Crago said.

Inslee is scheduled to be at Ephrata City Hall by 2:45 p.m. today for the meeting. Space for governor's stop is limited and people interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP ahead of time by calling the city at 509-754-4601.

Before the meeting, the governor will be visiting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Office in Ephrata to meet with staff who helped 33 pygmy rabbits survive the Sutherland Canyon Fire near Quincy.

Richard Byrd be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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