By Ann McCreary

The Town of Twisp will be able to move ahead with plans to construct a new civic building and emergency operations center after the state Legislature appropriated $500,000 for the project in the capital budget.

“This enables us to phase in the work now,” said Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody, who has pushed for funding to replace the current town hall building with a new facility.

Twisp had received a $500,000 appropriation in last year’s legislative session through the efforts of Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, but that wasn’t enough to get the $2.7 million project off the ground, Ing-Moody said.

The $500,000 appropriated by the Legislature in its just-completed session will allow the town to begin the first phase of construction, Ing-Moody said. This time Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, “helped push this forward,” Ing-Moody said.

She credited Gov. Jay Inslee for helping as well. “Gov. Inslee personally made sure it was included in the budget,” she said.

The first phase of construction will be to move a shop area that houses public works vehicles next to the town hall offices. That arrangement has caused problems because fumes from the shop enter the office space, Ing-Moody said.

A new building for the public works vehicles will be constructed at the town’s public works property on Cottonwood Street.

Plans for the civic center and emergency operations center call for razing the 70-year-old town hall building, which is plagued with structural problems, and replacing it with a facility that will house town offices, provide a community meeting space and function as an incident command center during emergencies.

The wildfire emergencies of the past two summers made it clear that the Methow Valley needs a facility that can serve as a command center, Ing-Moody said.

“The need for an emergency command center became apparent when police officers were working out of their patrol vehicles,” Ing-Moody said.

Ing-Moody has worked for four years to secure funding for a new civic center and public works shop for Twisp. An architect has been selected to design the new buildings.

“Thank goodness we can move ahead. We’re excited to get started,” she said.