Williams to prioritize capital improvement wish list 

The Williams City Council met jointly with the Williams Parks and Recreation Commission last week to begin putting together a priority list of capital improvements, including road repairs, street construction, and park improvements. 

The meeting also included the Museum Board of Directors, which has a few projects that need completing as well. 

Officials said the city doesn’t have the money to do everything on everyone’s wish list, but the City Council wants to keep its capital improvement plan updated, especially as the local economy continues to hum. 

The city anticipates that once the truck stop is up and running, and the cannabis facility in built, then the city’s finances should improve enough to complete a number of projects or leverage the money for other funding sources, said City Administrator Frank Kennedy. 

“It’s a good time to be the city of Williams,” Kennedy said. 

The last time the Williams City Council looked at its capital improvement plan was about eight months ago. The multi-million dollar plan includes reconstructing a number of streets, including A Street from sixth the 10th Street, which will cost about $250,000, and E Street, at about $244,000. 

The city also wants to rehabilitate the Old Gym at the Sacramento Valley Museum, which will cost about $500,000, as well as install restrooms at Sierra Oaks Park for $60,000, and install benches and horseshoe pits at Valley Vista Park for $75,000. 

Also on the wish list are City Hall repairs for $50,000, and two new permanent electronic signs for $65,000. Kennedy said the electronic traffic trailer has served a longtime function, but is an eyesore for a developing city. 

“I think we need to be better than that,” he said. 

City officials said there are a number of major projects on the list, including a $5 million traffic signal project that includes signals on and off Interstate 5, one at Husted and Old Highway 99, and one on Marguerite Street at Highway 20. 

Kennedy acknowledged said that the city needs an estimated $20 million in road repairs, but that shouldn’t stop the City Council from considering projects that provide recreation to Williams youth. 

While the city pool needs an additional shade structure and other repairs, there is also a desire from the public to have a skate park, a volleyball court, or a water park in Williams, he said. 

Museum President Arno Martini said the museum’s long-time desire for an elevator might be out of reach, largely do to the cost, as well as age and stability of the structure. The museum board is now looking at new technology that provides video tours, which would be available to those who only have access to the downstairs. Right now, stair rehabilitation is the most pressing need at the museum, he said. 

Williams Mayor Chuck Bergson, at the Nov. 5 meeting, formed a Capital Improvement Plan Committee, which will consist of City Councilmen Robert Mendoza and Santos Jauregui, Park and Recreation Commissioners Eddie Johnson and Treva Dieves, Museum directors Arno Martini and James Pearson, three members from the public, and city staff. 

The City Council directed the new committee to prioritize a list of the top 10 or 20 needs that would be in the best interest of the city and the best use of public funds. 

“We don’t want to ignore the most important,” said Councilman John Troughton. ■