The holiday season is a time of traditions and one of the City’s end of year traditions brings the City Engineer, Jim Bowling, in to the last City Council meeting to provide an update on the numerous capital projects that he and his staff managed during the course of the last 12 months.
With all of the construction work that we’ve had going on it’s hard to stay current on everything, so Jim’s presentation is a favorite among the Council members and the staff. In keeping with the season, hearing Jim’s report feels a bit like opening community presents.
Anyone who drove around town in the last 12 months knows first-hand that 2011 was a banner year in construction in Kent — with traffic detours and lane reductions around every corner — so Jim had lots to talk about.
Not surprisingly, Jim made sure to give plenty of time to the status of the new Fairchild Avenue bridge and downtown redevelopment. Either one of these projects could take an hour to cover in any detail but Jim did his best in the time he had available. With the projects in various stages of completion there were lots of questions about how things are working, what things are done, and what parts are still to come.
In a sign of progress, if you pulled the minutes from Jim’s presentation at the end of 2010 you’d see that he talked a lot about the status of the engineering, surveying and design work for these projects, whereas this year his focus was on what construction had been done to date. From blueprints in 2010 to hammers and nails in 2011 — progress!
The biggest takeaway from Jim’s talk would be that nearly all of the City’s major initiatives are underway at this point. City planners have officially handed the ball off to the construction engineers, and over the course of the next 12 months the building inspectors will be asked to carry the ball over the goal line when its time to issue the certificates of occupancy.
Thats when the real fun begins.
Unfortunately we don’t have the benefit of Jim’s audio explanations but here’s the slides from Jim’s powerpoint presentation.