It’s like stepping back in time – to the Wild West – as you drive along Riverside Drive into downtown Winthrop.
Buildings with board and batten siding, old-fashioned signs, wooden boardwalks and tin roof coverings all have you looking for the horses tied up in front of the buildings. For this small town, with a population of less than 400, these design elements are core to their tourism program.
SCJ Alliance, and specifically engineer/project manager Dave Allen, has been a key player in implementing many of these elements. Dave has worked with the Town of Winthrop for about 15 years, with SCJ designing boardwalks, roadways, irrigation culverts, a pedestrian bridge, a parking lot and trails.
This charming town is located on the North Cascades Scenic Byway, in the beautiful Methow Valley, and hosts visitors from far and wide to enjoy sunshine, festivals, rivers, snow, trails, hiking, the rodeo and much more.
Rocklynn Culp, Town Planner for Winthrop, has appreciated the work SCJ has done.
“The projects SCJ has worked on have helped us implement local planning priorities. The Bluff Street and Castle Avenue projects were major projects on Winthrop’s six-year street plan,” shared Culp.
“Both projects incorporated bike lanes and sidewalk in areas where we had none before,” she said. “They set a new standard that aims to make our streets safer for all users.”
Culp also noted how well Dave works with landowners. An important part of the Bluff Street project’s success was the frequent public involvement. Information received at SCJ-led open houses and field visits helped adjacent property owners feel involved in the process and more agreeable to needed changes on private property for improving slopes and driveways.
Currently, SCJ is designing two trail projects: a river walk in downtown and the second phase of the Susie Stephens Trail, connecting the downtown with a highway commercial zone. The two projects will enhance experiences for tourists and locals alike, both related to transportation and recreation.
SCJ is looking forward to drawing on the firm’s other disciplines such as environmental assessment and landscape site design as these project move forward.
Culp also likes working with Dave because he knows their community well, brings a low-key manner to his projects and goes about addressing details effectively.
She likes receiving Dave’s advance notice about where complications lie and how he presents options for addressing them. And, most important to this small town, Dave’s project estimates have been on target when they go to bid.
Dave also keeps Winthrop officials abreast of available grants, particularly when additional funds are needed. During the preliminary roadway design for Bluff Street, SCJ helped secure separate funding sources for improving the water system – 2600 lineal feet of water main replacement was added to the roadway reconstruction project. A small town can use all the help it can get finding funds for needed projects.