City of Lander optional 1% projects progressing; Mayor adamant that all funds to be used for streets

(Lander, Wyo.) – The City of Lander is excited to inform the public of progress on several  Optional 1% projects for streets. This summer 2nd and 5th streets are being crack sealed, and the City will chip seal Buena Vista and all of Harmony Hill (McDougall, Welch, Vance, Garner) in the very near future.

“We appreciate the public’s patience. It took some time to get the 1% Committee together, gather data, interpret the data, and develop a strategy.” said Gary Michaud, Community Resource Coordinator.

The City is collecting an estimated $1.4 million per year, or a total of $5.6 million over four years, and the City plans to spend the entire amount before the next election. According to Michaud, “there are a number of Optional 1% street reconstruction projects planned for the future, and several of these involve leveraging local funds to acquire state grants so the funds will go further.”

One of those Optional 1% projects involves a partnership with the Wyoming Department of Transportation to reconstruct Jefferson Street, located in front of the Lander Middle School.  The street deteriorated rapidly during the Middle School construction and is currently getting much heavier use than the pavement can handle, but unfortunately does not qualify for state school facility funds.  The WYDOT funding covers over 90% of the costs, therefore the City only pays for roughly 10% of the costs. The project will be designed and constructed by WYDOT, which has a very meticulous design process, hence construction will likely not take place until the summer of 2016.

Reconstruction of two other streets, Christina Drive and a small section of Dillon Drive in the Dillon Addition, will match State of Wyoming County-wide Consensus funds with Optional 1% funds.  Also, there are plans to begin engineering this fall for the reconstruction of Cliff Street and McDougall Street in the Black Addition.  All of the Dillon and Black Addition projects will be constructed next summer.

“I am excited to move forward,” said Optional 1% Committee Chair Mike Quinn. “Lander has a plethora of deteriorating streets and we are just scratching the surface with these projects. We need the public to understand this need and that we are using these funds diligently so that the Optional 1% can be approved again in the future.”

Mayor Mick Wolfe reaffirmed that all of the funds will be used solely toward city streets stating “not one penny of the Optional 1% will be used for the community center or any other projects.” Wolfe said there was a misunderstanding by a member of the public after he inadvertently placed a newly-made 1% sign in City Hall lobby next to community center drawings.

–Provided by City of Lander