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Olympic project nears completion

A tall light post is installed on the corner of Third Street and Olympic Avenue Monday, after the shorter mid-block light posts were installed from Division to Third Street last week. -
A tall light post is installed on the corner of Third Street and Olympic Avenue Monday, after the shorter mid-block light posts were installed from Division to Third Street last week.
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ARLINGTON Strider Construction expects to complete utility installation on the third and final section of the North Olympic Avenue reconstruction project this week and plans are being made to put the final surface of asphalt on the first two sections, from Division to Second Street at the end of this week Friday, Aug. 31, weather permitting, Paul Ellis said Monday, Aug. 27.##M:more]##
Its supposed to be nice this week, so we should be able to lay the final surfacing on the first two sections, Ellis said, adding they originally wanted to shut down the street at 2 p.m. Friday and spend a couple of hours sweeping and cleaning it before starting to pave around 4 p.m.
Unfortunately, finding a crew willing to work late on Friday the start of a three-day weekend proved to be difficult so plans now call for the work to be started early Friday and the crew will try to be finished by the end of the day.
The street should be open from the south end at Second Street Saturday morning, Ellis said.
Light poles have been installed from Division to Third Street with more going in the 300 block on Monday, Aug. 27.
The gazebo is pretty much done, Ellis told the Council, Monday, Aug. 20, with just the landscaping to be completed.
The irrigation will be installed this week by Prairie Mountain Landscape and top soil will brought in as soon as thats complete, early next week.
When we find out when the landscaping plants can be delivered, then we will set up a weekend work party, Ellis said. Volunteers will be needed to rake the top soil and help plant trees and shrubs.
The water main was hooked up and all the businesses in the 100 block were reconnected with water Monday and they were planning to finish installing the water main and hydrants between First and Maple on Tuesday.
Well bring in rock Wednesday and then start installing curbing at the end of this week, he added.
Its all coming together earlier than expected.
Ellis was waiting until the end of August to set the date for the grand opening celebration and it is now set for Oct. 6.
Celebration set for Oct. 6
As the street project moves forward, a committee of volunteers and city officials is meeting weekly at 5:30 p.m., Thursdays, in the City Council chambers to plan a grand celebration for the reopening of North Olympic Avenue. The date is now set for Oct. 6.
The grand opening will include a rolling parade, which means that parking will be allowed on the street throughout the day. The plan is to get all the streets merchants and friends to gather at Division Street for a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m., and then walk down the street together to the gazebo in Legion Park where Mayor Margaret Larson and other officials will deliver speeches at 2:30 p.m.
Around downtown, there will be a Bite of Arlington from 1 to 4 p.m., with all eateries, including espresso stands, invited to participate. Its the day of Arlington Downtown Merchants annual October Hunt Garage Sale, to be located on the Centennial Trail between Fifth and Fourth streets, and live entertainment by local musicians, such as the Old Time Fiddlers, the Gryffyn Band, and more, will be on the street, in the gazebo and at several indoor locations in town.

Guidance for upgrading buildings
The North Olympic renovation project has been a twinkle in the eyes of merchants and city officials for many years, and now that its completion is in full view, city officials are hoping that property owners will spruce up their own buildings facing the street, Ellis said.
Since the city did not require any property-owner contributions such as a Local Improvement District to complete the street project, city officials are hoping that property owners will take responsibility and upgrade the fronts of their buildings to help complete the renovation of historic downtown Arlington.
As part of the project, the city has developed its design guidelines for historic downtown, with help from a group of University of Washington architectural design students, to guide property owners who want to upgrade their buildings in a style that blends with Arlingtons unique identity.
To this end, Vic Ericson presented copies of the students completed project, Old Town Arlington Design Guidelines, a booklet showing building design concepts, preferred color schemes and signage solutions at the Aug. 15 Arlington Downtown Merchants meeting. The book is an impressive document of Arlingtons history through its buildings, with a look to the future.
Since they cost quite a bit to reproduce, I hope the merchants will share their books with one another, Ericson said. But if anyone needs one, they should call City Hall.
The street project was launched in 2006 when a large concentration of underground storage tanks were identified and removed. The project was phased over two years to lessen the impacts to the community and local businesses. The cost of removing the storage tanks was $340,000 and the cost for this years Phase II is $4.1 million. It is being paid for with bonds, water/sewer revenue and real estate excise tax.
For information about the project, call Ellis at 360-403-4603 or e-mail to capitalprojects@ci.arlington.wa.us.

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