by A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia
Yesterday I stood in the muted light of early morning waiting for sun-up, listening, watching and reflecting. It was perfect. A few days before, Al and I crested the pass into a basin that burst in a bouquet of wildflowers and green. It was perfect as we descended to moving water. As the morning sun rose over the peaks to the east my shadow fell bank to bank across the velvety waters of the not so small stream as I prepared to fish the Trico hatch. I was filled with the anticipation of an epic day on the water. It had been a week full of perfect moments.
I am getting better at focusing on the perfect moments, though admittedly I have work to do. As I stepped into the Fort Hall Construction meeting Thursday afternoon RJay Hawkes put things in perspective for me as he was upbeat and positive about the project that is causing him and his neighbors no small degree of inconvenience. My thanks to Taylor Construction for making the project tolerable for those directly affected.
Taylor Construction and the Fort Hall project nearly met their goal last week on completing the excavation of the entire project. The final block between Van Buren and Harrison streets will have been excavated early this week and sewer and water lines will begin to be installed from Harrison back toward Lee Street and the bypass. As I signed hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in checks related to the Fort Hall project, the Willow Bay Emergency Access Road and the winter of 2016-17 Emergency Relieve Funds of street repairs yesterday afternoon, I was pleased to see our tax money going to such obvious good use.
The tennis/pickle ball court project has been far less than perfect in its timing, but by the time you read this it should be close to finished as the actual playing surface was being installed beginning this Monday. My sincere thanks to all who made the completion of this project possible. It has been on a lot of people’s to-do-lists for over seven years. My specific thanks right now goes to our past Public Works Coordinator Jeremy Peirsol, Parks and Rec Superintendent Chris Fehringer, retired School District Superintendent Ron Bolinger and current School District Superintendent Randy Jensen. These four made the project possible.
Things like the tennis courts, skate-park and new recreation area at the high school are only possible because all of us choose to work together toward common goals. A few weeks ago Jensen and I signed a memorandum of understanding for the trade in use of the city’s mini-excavator and the district’s small tractor. Simple things like that make so much more possible, the cool thing is that they are generally easily facilitated. We will have the grand opening and dedication of the courts later this month. Stay tuned.
Prior to the construction meeting last week, Fire Chief Pete Williams and his Deputy Chief Jason McLean met with me and Lana Duke of USDA Rural Development to discuss a grant possibility between the two agencies and our Rural Fire Department that may allow us to finally be able to purchase the appropriate filling station for our Self-Contained-Breathing-Apparatus systems. The fill station is something that has long been needed, but the funds have never been available to a single entity; with the help of the USDA RD it may now be possible as the three groups work together to make better things possible for American Falls.
In the same vein of cooperation, Lisa Bachman of JUB Engineering has been working on our behalf to secure funds for two grants totaling $65,000 for a feasibility planning and engineering study for the Ferry Hollow Trail. Last week we submitted a grant application again to USDA RD for $15,000 and Bachman is in the process of writing an Idaho GEM grant for $50,000 to facilitate the planning study. Similarly, Parks and Rec Superintendent Chris Fehringer has been working with Margret Bibbey of the Bureau of Reclamation on a grant that could provide for vast improvements of the Willow Bay infrastructure and amenities. Subsequently, at last Thursday’s city council meeting a new concessionaire was approved to supply water craft rentals at Willow Bay including everything from large ski boats to paddle boards. Often, we make our own opportunities. I am extremely excited about those at Willow Bay.
As my shadow shortened and the day warmed yesterday, the big fish never moved to the tiny mayflies that lay on the smooth surface, but lots of their smaller brethren did. The valleys Al and I had gone to fish earlier in the week had changed a lot in the two high water years since our last visit. The streams once teeming now almost void of fish for whatever reason. I learned long ago that those who solely go to catch lots of big fish often leave disappointed, not unlike those who expect great changes right now and are not of the mindset to play the long game often find themselves similarly dissatisfied. I remain excited and positively optimistic about our future as a community and look forward to working with each of you to secure that future.
Until next week…
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