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Upgrading Park Tops Bingen's Wish List

Council vote was unanimous

The Bingen City Council has decided that improving infrastructure at Daubenspeck Park is the most deserving city project for 2005.

At the Dec. 7 council meeting, members voted 5-0 to put enhancements for the park at the top of the list for grant funding from the Klickitat County's regional landfill fund.

Each year, the Economic Development Authority board provides communities across the county with grants to fund economic and/or community development projects. This year, the county has set aside $350,000 to distribute among the communities.

Council member Laura Mann made the motion to ask the county for $25,000 for park improvements, including electrical system and irrigation system upgrades and improvements to the restrooms.

However, Mann said she wanted one aspect of the park project -- relocating and putting in new baskets for the park's basketball court -- taken off the project list.

Mayor Brian Prigel said moving the court had been proposed because if and when a new community center is built on the city's 400 W. Steuben property, it would probably be in the way.

"We could move it in the future," Mann said.

The full council concurred with Mann's assessment that the basketball court could wait.

"The irrigation system and the electrical system are really the most important," said Councilor Jeanette Fentie.

The council determined that a request for $35,000 for repairs to the Gorge Heritage Museum building would be set as the city's second choice. The foundation under the north wall at the city-owned building needs work, and the facility needs a ramp to make it accessible to wheelchairs.

The 2005 prioritization package passed unanimously.

A third proposal -- to buy banners to hang on the new street lamps in Bingen's business district as part of downtown revitalization efforts -- was dropped from consideration.

Early in 2005, the EDA board recommends which projects to fund, and the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners then makes the final decision.

One of the stipulations of the program is that the money be spent and the project completed in the year it is given.

Traditionally, a community's top priority is given grant funding. Depending on requests from other communities, a second priority may gain funding.

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