The Federal Way City Council unanimously approved the installation of a 60-foot memorial flagpole on South 320th Street between Pacific Highway and 20th Avenue South.
The project was approved with a proviso to not exceed $35,000, and city staff estimates they should be able to keep the project under that price tag.
There is also current discussions about renaming the stretch of 320th Street on which this project will be placed “Veterans Way Boulevard” as a way for the city to have a “permanent reminder and memorial to the people that have given their life for their country,” said Mayor Jim Ferrell, although he noted the renaming idea is one that’s still being “bandied about.”
Regardless, Ferrell said he was a “firm no” before sitting down and talking with Federal Way resident Bob Kellogg about the project. The mayor said the project’s aesthetic appeal was what eventually won him over.
“Now when I first heard this, I was a little skeptical,” Ferrell said during the Council’s Aug. 12 meeting. “I had some concerns when I sat down with Mr. Kellogg, frankly, he won me over. What it was that won me over, was this idea of our city and the view that will forever be associated with our city, is this beautiful panorama of flags and the American flag in the center.”
Kellogg said he was inspired by wanting to create a space in the city that all residents can share together.
“I’ll say something about why I believe the flag is important. It’s common ground. It’s common ground for all Americans. When it comes down to it, whether Republican or Democrat or whatever … when it comes down to it, you’re an American and you’re proud of it,” Kellog said during the meeting. “I think it’s important to our citizens to become emotionally tied to [the project]. I think this is one way of doing it.”
This idea was presented to the Land Use Transportation Committee earlier this summer, and at that meeting, Councilwoman Kelly Maloney and others raised some practical concerns regarding potential safety issues. Public Works Director Marwan Salloum researched those concerns and found that most were easily addressed.
One concern was having a large flag flying over one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, and what kind of issues that might present in inclement weather. One response would be to fly a smaller flag, or to take the flag down in such circumstances. In the case of needing to fly the flag at half-mast, Salloum discovered that technically, the flag can be lowered its own height, and still be considered at half-mast.
Another concern was installing a large pole on 320th Street, and what liability the city could be in if a motorist were to hit the pole. According to Salloum, the projected placement of the flagpole in a large median on 320th would leave acceptable buffer zones around it and cover the city.
Salloum provided a line-item breakdown of project costs. According to the city’s projections, the flagpole and accessories are expected to cost $8,800; the installation of the pole, along with the needed traffic controls, will be $5,500. An item listed as “lighting systems, including the crossing of South 320th Street” is set to be $15,000, while the mounting brackets and flags for the streetlight poles are anticipated to cost $2,700.
Finally, a line item for any potential re-landscaping of the island was included at $3,000.
“I like it very much,” said Councilwoman Dini Duclos. “I like anything better than what we have now coming off I-5 on 320th.”
“I do think [the project] will change the look of the community as you’re driving in,” Maloney added.
The project joins the growing list of improvements in the city’s downtown core, including the Town Square Park and the Performing Arts and Conference Center. To learn more about these projects, visit www.cityoffederalway.com.