July 12, 1999
DUVALL--For those who haven't noticed, work has finally begun on the 40-acre Safeway site at the south end of town.
Currently, the company is grading for construction and working on the realignment of Big Rock Road, according to city engineer Elizabeth Goode. Plans for the store and other development for the property have been ongoing for a couple of years, and the company had originally hoped to break ground in the spring of 1998.
But last winter, when Safeway couldn't come to terms with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) over the realignment of Big Rock Road, plans for the store were suddenly dropped. Surprised city officials said they learned of it when the sign announcing the proposed store just disappeared.
City Director Jim Bourasa said then that problems appeared to stem from miscommunication between Safeway engineers and the DOT planners regarding the placement of Big Rock Road. DOT had required the road to exit farther north on SR-203 for safety reasons.
City Planner Eric Jensen said eventually it was decided Big Rock Road needed to be placed even farther to the north than originally planned and the driveway into the store farther to the south to meet DOT standards. The driveway access will now be 40 feet south of where it was in the original design.
This spring, Safeway began work on some of the sensitive areas on the property and is now focusing on general grading and moving the road.
"Big Rock Road will be cutting through the open area," Goode said. "They have most of the permits they need for the work they are doing now, but they still need to get the permit for the building."
Original plans were for a 42,000 square-foot food and drug store. Although Safeway officials said last week they have no information to release at this time about the store, Bourasa said they have submitted building plans and have informed him they hoped the store would be open by Christmas.
Goode said that there will be a city park in the area where the sequoias and big rock are now.
"The city still has no plans on how it will develop the park, but the road will not be going through there," she said. "And although workers cut down a poplar tree adjacent to the redwoods and the big rock, no more trees are planned to be cut."