Sidewalk talk resurfaces in Ocean Shores

After scrapping old project plans, city moves toward procuring new designs

A few years after the city of Ocean Shores scrapped designs and returned grants for a major sidewalk construction project, a new mayor wants to take another stab at making the city more walkable.

The Ocean Shores City Council at a meeting on Feb. 27 gave city administration the nod to start the process for coming up with sidewalk designs for its main drag, Point Brown Avenue, north of the city’s roundabout.

“We wanted to kind of move forward with a downtown plan for walkability and get some sidewalks looked at,” Ocean Shores Mayor Frank Elduen told the council Tuesday.

Elduen said the city wants to start a partnership with the University of Washington’s Livable City Year, a multi-disciplinary working group of students and faculty that helps local jurisdictions plan economic and community vitality projects, to create designs for a new downtown development plan at no cost.

The university group, which has worked with about a dozen jurisdictions since 2016, usually takes two years to complete a project.

To fast-track the sidewalk portion of the project, the city will first hire another consultant to complete those designs and have those meshed into the plan of the UW group.

That way, Elduen said, “we’re not looking at two years before we can get some sidewalks.”

“People really want to be able to walk downtown,” he said Thursday.

“Of course, we all want sidewalks. I’m gonna assume we all want sidewalks,” Councilor Lisa Griebel said during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s been a conversation for years, especially when we start to think about accessibility to all people in our downtown area.”

The council strode into sidewalk discussions six years ago, drawing strong interest from the public, but ideas about what the project should look like were mixed. Some business owners were concerned the sidewalks would squeeze their parking space.

Costs for four sidewalk designs ranged from $12 million to $15 million, with some calling for meandering paths and roundabout additions.

The city received grants from local, state and federal transportation boards but had to return the money without a clear consensus for construction. Finance Director Angela Folkers said Tuesday the city has set aside about $100,000 for the downtown revitalization plan.

“These will be new plans,” Elduen said. “That didn’t go over well the last time we did that. They were very elaborate, I thought, the last sidewalk plans.”

He said the new designs will likely be simpler, cheaper and could involve “moving the sidewalk into the road a little ways so it’s a straight shot down on both sides and it won’t impede on any parking for the businesses.”

Elduen said there will be an upcoming town hall meeting to garner public input on designs and the city will reach out to engage businesses about the designs.

Contact reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or