City council receives Capital Improvement Program update at meeting

City has been awarded plethora of project grants.

From parks to docks to water, and more in between, the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects for this year and beyond spent some time in the spotlight at the Mercer Island City Council’s Sept. 20 regular hybrid meeting.

According to a city document, the six-year CIP outlines the city’s strategic financial plan to acquire, expand or rehabilitate public infrastructure. The current CIP stands in its final stages and a new one sits on deck for the years 2023-2028.

On the current water utility projects front, a reservoir generator replacement is in the design phase, and construction is underway on a booster chlorination system, water system improvements, water meter replacements and a water alarm and monitoring system, according to Jason Kintner, Public Works department chief of operations.

Expanding on the water meter project, he said that of the city’s almost 8,000 meters, 60% percent of them have reached age 15 years or older. The project is aimed at replacing the meters over the next two years.

The pump station rehabilitation and replacement assessment is in the design phase and the city stands at the critical point of reinvesting in those assets, said Kintner, noting that the city possesses 17 pump stations. They will evaluate the stations and devise a replacement plan for the sites, which “convey sewage around the Island and into the King County system,” Kintner added.

For various utility projects focused on sewer pipe replacements and upsizing, pressure reducing valve station replacements and more, the city utilized about $850,000 in funds from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a COVID-19 stimulus package that brought $7.23 million in fiscal recovery funds to the city. The city tentatively proposes to earmark $4.45 million of that amount for the next CIP, according to a city document.

Also on the docket for the upcoming years in the new CIP are asbestos-cement water pipe replacements, improvements to the docks, bulkhead structures and more at Groveland and Clarke beach parks, dock and waterfront improvements at Luther Burbank Park, assessment of current city facility conditions and more.

To help Mercer Island along with funding its copious projects, a host of organizations have awarded the city a total of nine grants in the amount of $2,441,000. Some of the projects benefiting from the grants are Aubrey Davis trail safety improvements, Lincoln Landing shoreline and stormwater improvements, traffic signal safety improvements, the Luther Burbank docks and waterfront and more. Five Luther Burbank-related grants are currently in review or progress, along with one for Southeast 40th Street sidewalk improvements, for a requested $5,027,000.

City Manager Jessi Bon thanked the city staff and council for their successful strides on the CIP and further delved into the council’s pivotal role in the process: “All of this work is done because of your leadership. You said and provided the policy direction starting a couple of years ago to accelerate the capital project reinvestment and we have been doing so. I appreciate you for taking those risks and forging ahead even when we have unbalanced capital plans in the out years.”