Whitefish is done with recounts and uncertainty. As of Monday night, the city has a new mayor and a full city council.
To kick off Monday’s city council meeting, Mike Jenson took the oath of office as Whitefish’s elected mayor, replacing Cris Coughlin. Then John Muhlfeld and Ryan Friel were sworn in as city councilors, which left the council with one more decision: Martin McGrew or Turner Askew, who tied in a November recount. With an open vote, the council unanimously chose McGrew.
Now the six city councilors are Nancy Woodruff, Muhlfeld, Friel, McGrew, Shirley Jacobson and Nick Palmer. Mayor Jenson is the tiebreaker in the event of a 3-3 vote. The council also unanimously elected Woodruff as deputy mayor.
Askew stepped up to the podium and graciously accepted the council’s decision, vowing to continue helping the city in any way he could. Then McGrew took his seat and 2008 began in the council chambers.
Tackling its first agenda, the new council voted unanimously throughout the night on several issues, including a $1.2 million consultant contract with Robert Peccia & Associates to design both a downtown parking garage and a street improvement project along Central Avenue. About $668,000 will go toward the Central Avenue project and the rest is for the Spokane Avenue parking garage.
The proposed three-level parking garage would add more than 200 parking spaces to downtown Whitefish. At an early December public presentation, project manager Ryan Mitchell of Robert Peccia & Associates said the garage will have a façade resembling building fronts to make the structure blend in with downtown. The Central Avenue project, Mitchell said, would change the face of downtown by adding features such as aspen trees and landscaping on street corners, wider sidewalks, raised crosswalks, decorative streetlights, benches and more.
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