Orofino City Council members and City staff praised the efforts of several local members of the community at the meeting held Sept. 22, to deliver some long-awaited projects in Orofino. The projects both tie into the city’s goal of offering a healthier lifestyle through physical fitness and better nutrition.
The community was awarded a $250,000 Community Transformation Grant to help foster and promote these objectives.
City Administrator Ryan Smathers announced that the first phase of the skate park had been completed, and is now open to the public on Dunlap Road, just beneath the Orofino Junior/Senior High School. John Anderson of Riverview Construction contributed the excavation work required and Josh Steiner and crew with Fury Concrete poured the concrete and prepared the foundation for the ramps. Smathers added that Rusty and Kim Miller were also very much involved in the process.
The skate park has been a dream for at least the past 15 years. Chris St. Germaine, Clearwater County Economic Development Specialist, has assisted community youth and supporters through the process of finding and negotiating to secure the property from the school district to organizing community meetings and applying for grants, which helped to bring us to where we are today.
Smathers said there were enthusiasts there to test the new ramps even before the crew was finished. “The workers sent to install the ramps loved seeing the anticipation and enthusiasm from the community as they worked, and commented they hoped if ever the skate park receives additional ramps, they would be the crew sent to install the new equipment.
The Park has been open a little more than a week and has had anywhere between five and up to 30 kids on the courts every day of the week. Jace Sams said Sunday was his third visit since it opened. He lives in Kamiah and incidentally is on the YAB Upriver Youth Leadership Council. A senior at Kamiah High this year his Senior Project is focused on helping the community of Kamiah to create their own skate park! There were not quite as many girls as boys on the court, though chances are that will change.
Smathers indicated that at the October meeting for the disbursement of funds of the Community Transformation Grant, he felt some funding would be earmarked for fencing and a few tables for the new park. The park will be open from dawn until dusk.
Further in the departmental reports Public Works, Supervisor Shane Miller spoke very highly of the work that went into the transformation of the tennis/pickleball courts on H Street, above the Orofino Elementary School.
Like the request for a skate park, the disrepair of tennis courts were often an agenda item at City Council meetings. With an ever growing interest in tennis amongst the students, OJSHS Tennis Coach Lupe Sims requested on several occasions if repairs on the court could be made, in order for it to be functional. Poor drainage of the courts resulted in leaving the same issue year after year repair was costly, but reconditioning the courts was entirely out of reach with the city’s annual budget allowed for recreation.
The project was tackled by OJSHS Tennis Coach Sims, John Hughes, Assistant Tennis Coach, and Pickle ball enthusiast and Shannon Carducci and his wife, Geo.
“It’s all about the kids and making it a safe and functional court,” said Sarducci. “Keeping the courts in shape is an ongoing process.”
Private donations as well as additional funding from the school, supplemented the city’s $1,000 budget in materials toward patching and repair of the courts. The city also provided equipment and tools to build the drainage ditch.
“If you haven’t yet been out there,” Miller told the council, “you really need to go up and just step onto the courts. I can’t believe the work that was done.”
Councilwoman Jennifer Dunaway, who lives near the courts stated that Hughes and the Carduccis were out in the heat, in the smoke as well as the cold and wet weather working on the courts. “John Hughes was there almost daily at 6:30 in the morning.”
Councilwoman Dunaway noted “This community is simply amazing in the way they come together to find a solution, We see it again and again and again. I feel so fortunate to live where we do.”
Administrator Smathers told the council he had been in contact with Ernie Tuning with the Rural Fire Department and anticipated to have additional information for the council by the end of the month. Smathers asked the council to plan on a work session Oct. 6, at 6 p.m.
Other news included the final rehabilitation work being completed at the Orofino Airport for this year, to include a drainage ditch along the runway safety area, tree removal, and runway sealcoating.
Treasurer Donna Wilson was not in attendance. Financial reports were distributed to the council members in their information packets.
The Building Permit report for August 2020 was submitted by Building Official Todd Perry. Other news from Perry included the distribution of several weed ordinance violations.
Miller with Public Works provided an departmental update in addition to the tennis courts.
Bikes, bikes & more bikes
Police Chief Jeff Wilson asked the media to announce the growing collection of confiscated bikes, some quite valuable, presently stored at the shop next to the city’s water plant.
To anyone missing a bicycle, Wilson asks to please contact the Orofino Police Department (OPD) to make arrangements to identify the missing bike. They would like to return them to their rightful owners, and are running out of space to store them.
Officer Tom Remington will complete the final step in certifying for the department’s firearms instructor, following a teaching session before post coordinators. “We haven’t had a firearms instructor since Mike Shore left the agency, and have used people from other agencies for training in the interim.”
While speaking of Remington, Wilson mentioned the case was still active and he was unable to provide details, but recognized Remington’s recent recovery of a stolen vehicle from another jurisdiction. Further investigation resulted in the recovery of many other items reported stolen.
Last in his report to the council, Wilson mentioned once again the need for the department to establish an adequate pistol and rifle range for training, and required for certification purposes. “We need to find space as we move into another fiscal year,” added Wilson. “Several opportunities we have explored have not worked out and we need to aggressively search for a suitable location.”
Canada Hill water tank
“Even with the delay of refurbishment of the Canada Hill water tank with the contractor, Mike Martin, City Water/Wastewater Supervisor said the subcontractors were phenomenal, working 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week to get the job done. “The tank was placed in the 70’s, work had been done in the 90’s that had not been done properly. The tank required additional work needed to cost an additional $20,000.” Martin stated the extra sandblasting and the installation of new roof vents were unanticipated but that he had budgeted a little extra to cover these potential circumstances.
“The corrosion of the tank’s roof structure was one-quarter inch when work began and is now paper thin,” said Martin. “The engineers feel it is sufficient to hold the roof intact now, but further corrosion could mean total replacement for the roof or even the replacement of the whole tank.
“Someday the McCandless tank will need replacing,” continued Martin, “We could get a larger tank there, and pull this tank out of commission. We will need to eventually address the issue in the future.
Fire Chief Jon Hoyt announced that the fires are out and the Incident Management Teams have left. The Clover Fire area was turned over to C-PTPA and the MM49 Fire was turned over to local jurisdiction.
Hoyt asked the public to please be advised that smoke will continue to be seen near the MM49 for some time. “At night, it may be possible to see glowing stumps in some of the deeper draws. We are aware of this. The stumps are surrounded by downed timber and the site is unsafe to send in firefighters at this time. The burn continues to be monitored.”
Hoyt also provided an update of the Fireman’s Breakfast held the morning of the “Unfair Days,” as the county supported and celebrated the culmination of our youths’ 4-H projects and livestock auction in times of Covid. It rained the entire morning but didn’t dampen spirits of those who attended. Proceeds of the breakfast went to support the programs of 4-H.
The new owner of Riverside Lanes, David Prall submitted an application for a Beer License at 10820 Hwy. 12. Clerk Janet Montambo explained the application was a formal procedure for new owners of establishments selling liquor. The request was approved without further discussion.
The final decision for the Special Use request on 162 Riverside Avenue was approved with the condition that a garage or covered area of at least 400 square feet be constructed.
The council also approved the Special Use request at 509 Bartlett Street with the conditions: that if the business expands and additional employees are added a new special use permit is needed.
Minutes, bills and claims
The council approved minutes of the Regular Council meeting held Sept. 8, minutes of the special Council meeting held Sept. 15, minutes of the regular Planning and Zoning meeting held Aug. 19, for information only, minutes of the regular Planning and Zoning meeting held Sept. 15, regular bills plus additional bills and payroll ending Sept. 12.
Carla Laws of Clearwater Realty in Orofino, commended the council on all they do for the city to make it a better place to live. She assured that all the work they do for the City has not gone unnoticed.
Work Session - Tuesday Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. Council Meeting - Tuesday Oct. 13, at 6 p.m.