At the top of the this year’s capital projects priority list, is $1-million requested for the construction and utility improvements of Wood Street for the new medical campus, $3.8-million in additional state funding for the Wrangell Medical Center project as well as $1-million for the next phase of the downtown revitalization project.
City Manager Timothy Rooney says the priority list has a number of important projects, and once the top three are completed this year, many of the other projects will move up the list. One in particular is the request of $8.5 million for improvements to Wrangell’s boat yards which is prioritized as fourth on the list under Wrangell’s downtown revitalization project at number three.
Rooney says at a recent meeting with Senator Bert Stedman, Stedman expressed concerns that Wrangell’s boat yard project was not further up the list. Rooney says he understands Stedman’s concerns, but he says unexpected delays in other city projects last year, has left Wrangell with its current priority list.
“The reason why the downtown revitalization project is there is because the delays that happened in the fall, have resulted in a lot of cost. We are asking for money because DOT has identified they will be short in funding for the project. I think if we’re not awarded the money DOT will have to come up with it, they signed the contract already,” he says.
Assembly member Bill Privett agrees the boat yard improvements are important to the community, but says no matter what order the projects are on the list, he believes if the state has the money, the projects will be funded.
“I don’t see any reason to change anything at this point. I think we should submit it as it is. It’s not showing any disrespect to Senator Stedman. But we want to make sure that we finish this downtown street project. If we don’t have the funding to complete it correctly it will cause us problems down the line,” he says.
Other projects on the list for 2012 include road work on Cassiar Street and Webber Street, Evergreen road improvements and pedestrian access, as well as recreation facility improvements, and public safety building renovations.
Under assembly reports, the hospital building committee met this week to discuss construction plans for the upcoming replacement hospital project. American Health Facilities Development Program Manager Steve Rutland and Bob McGuire of Layton Construction met with City and Hospital staff yesterday to review design development costs and estimates.
Rutland says the design team will be visiting Wrangell next week to talk with Medical Center staff to finalize design plans, and prepare for the project to go out to bid. Project recommendations will be presented to the assembly at the next regular Borough Assembly meeting on February 28th at 7:00 pm at City Hall.