Cheney Free Press -

Managing Editor 

Money for (hopefully) water


August 23, 2018

Cheney’s City Council gave unanimous approval at its Aug. 14 meeting to Mayor Chris Grover to sign a direct appropriation grant agreement between the city and the state Department of Commerce enabling the receipt of $727,500 in state funding to help pay for the Well 3 redrilling project.

The funding allows Cheney to seek reimbursement for initial spending on the $1.8 million project to bring another well online to help the city’s strained water supply system during irrigation season.

“This is the one we’ve been waiting for,” Public Works Director Todd Ableman told the council in bringing forward the resolution for the agreement.

City officials recently met with Blue Star Construction on the initial drilling portion of the project. Blue Star bid $724,000 to drill a new well next to the old shaft — which was originally 549 feet deep — on Erie Street, an operation that could begin soon.

If the location reveals to be a good water source, the city will go ahead with the rest of the project’s costs by installing a pump and well house sometime in 2019.

In other Public Works related resolutions, the council agreed to accept $180,100 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to help pay for water main replacement in North Cheney. The funding will pay for installation of approximately 650 feet of 8-inch water main on North Third Street from Ash to Oakland streets.

Council also approved an $18,947 contract with Medical Lake’s J&M Fabrication for manufacture of channel grates for the wastewater treatment plant’s headworks building — devices that will be installed by plant staff. The project involves removing the existing emergency generator and installing a city-supplied generator.

In other resolutions, council approved an amendment to a ground lease agreement it struck with JC Steel Targets in March to lease property in the city’s Commerce and Industrial Park. The original agreement granted the Cheney business the ability to build a new manufacturing facility on three lots along Spring Street in the park.

City Administrator Mark Schuller said a geotechnical survey indicated the property was not conducive to the type of building JC Steel Targets intended to build — which according to the March meeting is a 5,000-square-foot production facility. Another piece of property located at the top of the hill on Fred Johns Way did prove more suitable, but would require more excavating, something Schuller said the company hadn’t planned on doing but would undertake in order to make the contract work.

The amendment transferred the agreement from the three properties along Spring Street to an identically-sized parcel on Fred Johns Way. Schuller said lot line adjustments would be made, and the exchange would be cost-neutral.

“It’s basically a swap, same amount of land,” Schuller added.

John McCallum can be reached at


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