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The yearly September deadline for extending the Salmon Whitewater Park Association (SWPA) /City of Salmon agreement has brought on a renewal of public comments about the proposed Whitewater Kayak Park project.

Evalyn Bennett, who opposes any city participation in the project, addressed the council during its second August 17 public comment opportunity. She said she appreciated Breann Green’s Whitewater Park update given earlier in the meeting and she totally agreed with Councilman Rob Jackson who had requested more clearly stated definitions be added to the current SWPA/city agreement, specifically; those related to council approval of Local Option Tax monies being allocated to fund raising efforts by the Whitewater Association.

She said that Green’s report indicates the association is a long way from obtaining the needed permits for the project and said people should be reminded of the huge taxpayer expense related to government agencies reviewing the permit requests.

Bennett quoted the “…improve safety to the Salmon River” phrase included in the association’s Phase I agreement with the city and requested that that phrase be retained. She said the Bend, Oregon Whitewater Park has spent $9.7 million to design a three channel whitewater park featuring a path for fish passage, a channel for floaters and a channel for expert kayakers and surfers. She said in spite of the money spent the park has not attained a safe passageway. Given the fact the Salmon is already rated as a class three river she sees no way for this project to increase safety on the Salmon. Bennett said it would be a favor to SWPA and the community if the city denied a renewal of the agreement.

During the first public comment period of the evening in reference to renewing the SWPA agreement Dave Gusky said, “Don’t.” Seeing that the final approval of the budget was listed on the agenda he urged the council to look at ways to cut city bills rather than raise taxes.

Ginny Bockelman Phillips of the Softball Association offered a special thank you to the City Parks crew for their work. She said the great condition of the field brings many people to Salmon and cited the most recent tournament which was the largest ever and hosted 26 teams.

In other business the council amended its sidewalk contract agreement with W.R. Gibbs to read, “Costs shall not exceed $10,000” rather than the original limit of $6,000. The contract amendment passed on a vote of four to two with Rob Jackson, Neal James, Jim Baker and Ken Hill in favor; Jim Bockelman and Russ Chinske opposed.

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