Bancroft Park improvements one step closer to reality

This diagram maps out planned improvements to Bancroft Park in Payette, as submitted by resident Kathy Dodson. The improvements are aimed at increasing foot traffic at downtown businesses, she said.

PAYETTE — After several back-and-forth discussions with the Payette City Council, resident Kathy Dodson has made progress toward turning her vision of a performance space in downtown Payette into reality. The council agreed to sign off on initial plans for the installation of a 12-foot by 16-foot gazebo and half a dozen 6-foot benches for the park, during its regular meeting on Oct. 4.

Using feedback received from the council at its two previous meetings, Dodson returned with plans mapped out … but drawn by hand.

In her plans, Dodson included specifications for the gazebo structure and benches. She cited a gazebo on SelectSheds’ website as her proposed structure, with benches to be supplied by Global Industrial.

“It [the structure] meets the snow load and all of those things,” she told the council.

The plan for the space calls for benches to be arranged facing the gazebo, which would act as a performance space. In planning for the installation, Street Department Director Jamie Couch reminded Dodson to ensure ramps from the sidewalk on Main Street to the gazebo are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that rain water steers clear of the Keystone Pizza building next to it, due to its proneness to flooding.

“They already have an issue, we have to watch that real close when we sprinkle that lawn, because it leaks into their basement,” said Couch. “Anything coming off that back side would have to be guttered out to the front, and far enough away from that building so we don’t create a problem for them.”

He also advised Dodson to note consideration for snow, as well, as it pertains to the aforementioned basement. Dodson said she aims to place the gazebo close enough to the building so that electricity can be accessed.

According to Couch, the ramp from the street will have to be 4 feet to comply with ADA requirements.

A pine tree, known to Dodson as a “Charlie Brown” tree, stands where the gazebo is slated to be removed. But she said she wouldn’t miss it.

“I’d like to see it go,” she said.

Initial funds for the project come in the form of a $10,000 grant from AARP. Dodson and the Downtown Payette Merchants Association are applying for more funds for the project through Northwest Farm Credit, pending submission of agreement paperwork by city officials.

““The only thing that worries me is, you get halfway into this and you run out of money,” Councilor Mike Kee told Dodson. “I’m not saying that’s going to happen, that’s just a worry that I have.”

“Well, according to the budget, we’re OK,” said Dodson.

Initially, the grant monies were to be spent by Nov. 30, but AARP officials are offering to extend that deadline as the grant was disbursed later than the organization usually would, according to Dodson.

City attorney Dan Chadwick noted that in order to accept the grant money, city officials still need to provide AARP with a written notice of acceptance between the merchants association and the city, “plus the standards that you’re going to use, and what’s the policy for the council with regard to the development of Bancroft Park.”

Chadwick also noted that the council needs to bear in mind if and how this project ties into its downtown master plan.

As noted by Dodson, the improvements are intended to be a gift to the city by the merchants association.

Mayor Jeff Williams said he would like a written notice of the deadline extension by AARP, even though Dodson says she intends to meet the grant’s original Nov. 30 deadline. Kee said he sees no reason why an agreement would be hard to get. Dodson agreed with his comments.

Chadwick urged Dodson to work with Couch and the merchants association to draft an agreement.

Councilor Lori Steiniker moved to approve the project, contingent upon receipt of a written agreement, seconded by Councilor Craig Jensen. A voice vote to approve was unanimous, 6-0.

A request for comment by Dodson regarding the anticipated budget amount is pending, as of press time.

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