Othello Main Street estimated to cost $2.2 million

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Lynette Caruthers, the beautification committee president, speaks about the plan to beautify Main Street.

OTHELLO - A plan to place new light poles, planters and trees along Othello's Main Street is estimated to cost $2.2 million.

Lynette Caruthers, the beautification committee president, gave an update on the project at a recent city council meeting. Mark Preston, a Burien architect, presented a concept design during a May meeting.

Preston previously explained the city has several different styles of street lights throughout the city. Some have the lighting attached to wooden poles, some of the lighting is attached to metal poles and the angles of the arms holding the lights changes.

Caruthers focused on the first phase of the project, which she expects will include the two blocks of Main Street between 14th and 12th avenues.

"As we move down Main Street, we're basically going to be looking at three new alternating elements," she said. "We're going to be looking at lights. We're going to be looking at trees and we're going to be looking at new pots."

The committee focused on a different style of light than the original upright light pole originally recommended by Preston, Caruthers said. The two-armed pendant light poles will be constructed from spun concrete.

"We wanted a light that would visually fill more of our immense space along Main Street," she said. "We determined that this pole ... would be more visually impacting than the upright (lights) that we see at (Columbia Basin Health Association.)"

Caruthers described the material as some of the sturdiest and long-lasting poles. She said Ritzville has similar light poles.

"This pole will be standing in Othello 50 years from now, looking exactly like it looks right here," she said referring to an example of the pole. "This pole selection speaks to something that we're very concerned about as a committee which is sustainability."

The material is more expensive, but Caruthers said the longevity and the ease of care makes up for the cost. It doesn't need to be repainted and graffiti can be washed off.

"This pole, as you see it, is in the neighborhood of $7,500 per pole," she said. "Along with the light pole, we're going to have six arterial (lights) per block and those arterial (lights) are the 35-foot lights that will replace the street lights and they will look very similar to this. ... The arterials will be in the neighborhood of $8,000 per light."

Caruthers said the first two blocks will feature 14 pedestrian lights along with the six arterial lights.

The committee selected using European hornbeam trees. Caruthers said the pyramidal trees don't require much maintenance. No pruning is required, it doesn't have any fruit and the leaves are small.

"First of all, just making the tree choice, we had great deliberation over this because trees are controversial," she said. "How can you have a beautification project without the green factor? So we have opted to include trees in the project."

The committee chose commercial-grade fiberglass planters. Caruthers said the product is durable and comes in a multitude of colors. The planters will be 5 feet long, 18 inches wide and two feet high.

"The splash of color that you will see as you move down the street in these pots will be dramatic," she said. "There will be two per side, four per block, so eight total in that two blocks."

The total cost for the first phase of the project, including lights, planters and trees is estimated to be $175,000, she said. The estimated cost for installing the electricity, mechanical, concrete and on-site work is $352,000.

The committee and the city received some good news about the project during the past few weeks, Caruthers said. The committee received a $9,500 grant from QUADCO, an organization made up of Kittitas, Lincoln, Grant and Adams counties. The regional transportation planning organization funds transportation projects in the counties.

"What that means is the city gets to be reimbursed for the $10,000 that they put toward the hiring of Mark Preston," she said. "The other piece of good news is the grant from the Community Economic Revitalization Board that came through for $19,500."

The board's grant must be spent on new lighting, Caruthers said.

"We're looking at the potential of funding the project in phases," she said. "We're looking at the city writing grants, (the) beautification (committee) writing grants. We're looking at public donations possibly for trees, pots, lights. Those are some of the possibilities for funding."

Caruthers described the project as enormous, saying she believed it was possible to complete.

"If I didn't believe this was doable folks, I wouldn't be here," she said. "I so believe in this, and I so believe the timing is perfect. Look at what is happening in this community. Look at our brand new beautiful schools. Look at how we're moving out to (state Route) 26. Look at our wonderful parks. The time is right."

Mayor Tim Wilson said it is a great concept and the project is doable.

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