By Ann McCreary
Twisp’s civic building project has been awarded $750,000 through the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
Town officials are developing plans to replace town hall on Glover Street with a civic building that will also serve as an emergency operations center for the entire valley during disasters like wildfires.
Twisp has received almost $1 million in state capital budget funding over the past two years for planning and design of the new facility, which is estimated to cost about $3 million. Town officials had hoped the project would receive additional funding in the capital budget this year, but the state Legislature adjourned without approving a 2017 capital budget.
Part of the project — construction of a new public works facility to replace a shop that adjoined town hall — is already underway. The new public works shop is being built near the town’s sewer treatment plant on Cottonwood Street.
The civic building will serve as town administrative offices and police headquarters, as well as an emergency operations center. The town plans to raze the current town hall building, which is plagued with structural and functional deficiencies including cracked walls, inadequate fire and security features, poor ventilation and water damage.
The new one-story building would need more square footage than the current town hall, and will extend partially into Third Avenue, based on preliminary plans developed by Architects West of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Final plans are expected to be completed in the next month.
To make room for construction of the new civic building, the Twisp Council earlier this year approved closing a portion of Third Avenue next to the building.
The $750,000 grant for the project, announced this week by the state Department of Commerce, was awarded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Twisp is one of 23 cities and counties in Washington that will receive a total of more than $10 million in CDBG grants for 2017.
The Trump administration’s 2018 budget calls for elimination of the block grant program, a proposal that has been opposed by hundreds of mayors across the country.
“The grants are critical funding for rural areas,” said Twisp Mayor Soo Ing-Moody. “We look at CDBG as a primary source of funding. We have been working on this for years and are thrilled that we were successful, because it’s a very competitive process.” Ing-Moody said the CDBG grant will supplement other funding sources for the civic building.
“These grants help strengthen rural communities by addressing a diverse range of essential needs, from priority infrastructure to affordable housing and economic development,” said Brian Bonlender, state commerce director.
The grants are used to improve rural water, sewer, street and fire protection systems, and support community planning.