As a part of its community engagement strategy, Lewis County will periodically host public meetings and workshops to solicit input on important decisions and communicate significant milestones in this process. Throughout this process, all members of the public are encouraged to ask questions, share insights and ideas, or sign up to receive information by clicking on the Contact Us link.
June 22, 2017 – Open House: Riverside Fire Authority
On June 22nd the public was invited to an open house to review the draft strategies being considered by the Steering Committee to improve North Lewis County Industrial Access. Recommendations include a range of measures to improve access, circulation, safety, and operational efficiency. Final strategies will be included in a strategic action plan. Implementation activities will get underway over the next few months.
Below is a summary of the public outreach efforts that have taken place to date:
August 16-22, 2016 – NLCIA Booth, Southwest Washington Fair
NLCIA project team spent a week at the Southwest Washington Fair intercepting fair-goers to share information about the initiative and ask about their thoughts on how to improve access to industry in the area. The Southwest Washington Fair is a destination for many people living in the Lewis County region and beyond, and provided an opportunity to reach members of the public who hadn’t been heard from previously. Instead of asking residents to come to the meeting, this outreach effort brought the meeting to them.
Over the course of six days, the team spoke to about 200 individuals, 84 of whom completed a survey on industrial access issues in north Lewis County. Of those surveyed, 94% resided within Lewis County with 43% living within the boundary of the NLCIA study area. In addition, 25% of the respondents worked within the NLCIA study area.
The top-ranked suggestion was making it easier for trucks to get to and from I-5. However, when looking only at those living within the study area, upgrading traffic signals to allow for smoother traffic flow was the most common response. Top respondent's priorities among study area residents and employees included making it easier for trucks to get to and from the old TransAlta site, making it safer to walk or bike on streets that have heavy truck traffic and establishing a new route north of Centralia which connects SR 507 to I-5.
June 13, 2016 – Lewis County Staff Open House, Public Services Building, Chehalis
The NLCIA project team hosted an open house specifically for the people who build and maintain the areas streets and roads and develop area land use plans. Staff from Lewis County, Centralia, and Centralia Community College spent their lunch hour working with the project team to review input to date and fill in missing pieces that will help make subsequent evaluation most effective. Area staff offered insights regarding route redundancy and described operational impacts that occur because of insufficient street connectivity, particularly in regards to access between both sides of the Chehalis River. Suggestions concerning better access to IPAT from the south emerged from this open house as well as a few specific suggestions regarding street connections.
May 17, 2016 – Public Meeting, Centralia High School
In late spring the NLCIA project team hosted an open house to give the public an opportunity to review issues and opportunities on the table for consideration and to identify missing strategies. A small but engaged group of citizens talked with team members and several Steering Committee members in attendance about issues of particular concern. A few additional strategies were added to the table for consideration. Some highlighted specific local initiatives that could help the existing street system operate more efficiently, such as improved signal timing and better street connectivity.
November 23, 2015 – Public Meeting, Oakview Grange
Lewis County Public Works and SCJ Alliance hosted a neighborhood outreach and informational meeting to get input during this initial scoping phase of the North Lewis County Industrial Access project. About 30 people attended the open house event. After a brief overview of the project, attendees visited with staff and consultants to review maps of the study area, ask questions, and share their insights.
There was general agreement that additional industrial development would be beneficial to the area, and that improving transportation access would support this goal. Several people commented that additional local connections and a new interchange could relieve some of the existing pressure on Harrison Avenue. Attendees shared local knowledge about environmental constraints and other issues that this study must consider. People acknowledged that any solution is likely to be a set of strategies and that there isn’t a single “silver bullet” that can address needs and issues.