The flags are up in front of the civic and library building in University Place, although weather conditions have prevented them from flying.
City workers raised the U.S. and state flags for the first time this week, completing a project that had generated controversy in the bedroom community of 31,000.
“I think everybody is glad it’s up, and under budget, and it’s looking good,” Public Works Director Gary Cooper said.
The only downside, he said, is that the first week has been marked by stagnant air and droopy flags.
“I got no wind to make it fly,” he quipped.
The total project cost – including the flags, 50-foot-tall flagpole and lighting – came in at around $12,000. The council had budgeted $20,000 from Town Center development money.
Plans originally called for the city’s current flagpoles, located in front of city offices at Windmill Village, to be transplanted across the street when UP officials move into the civic building at Town Center – a date that is yet to be set.
Councilman Javier Figueroa pushed to erect a flagpole sooner. He cited federal code that requires the American flag be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of public institutions.
Figueroa claimed the civic building, though still largely empty, met that criteria once the University Place Pierce County Library opened in February 2011.
For a year, the City Council couldn’t agree where to put the flagpole or how to pay for the project. Finally, in October, the council decided to place it close to the building instead of near Bridgeport Way traffic.
Figueroa, a naturalized citizen and military veteran, said he and a handful of veteran friends met at the new flagpole Tuesday for a prayer and salute.
“It’s just gorgeous and beautiful,” he said.
Mayor Ken Grassi said the council plans to take a lunch break during its retreat at City Hall next Saturday to get a photo with the new flagpole.
The city also is planning a dedication and community celebration later this year when the weather improves. Potential dates include Memorial Day or in early July, the mayor said.
Installing the flagpole, he said, “was a great way to start the new year.”
Christian Hill: 253-274-7390