A $4 billion-plus Capital Budget was approved by the Legislature on Thursday night and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday afternoon, and with it comes millions of dollars in projects that will benefit Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, with everything from park upgrades to future city development plans.
“I’m glad we were able to finally reach an agreement to pass a budget that puts people to work on local projects right away, builds much needed school capacity and grows our economy,” said Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen. “These are the type of investments that improve our communities and enrich the quality of life for working families in our state.”
Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, was particularly proud of the work pushing for education in the more secluded areas in the region.
“We pushed hard to boost education in timber and farm country,” said Chapman. “I’m so proud that the budget we’re sending to the governor’s desk puts every possible dime toward building schools and colleges so that every student, no matter where they live, has a chance to succeed in school and in life.”
Here are a few highlighted projects that were approved for the 19th and 24th legislative districts covering Grays Harbor and Pacific County:
• Gateway Project — $1.75 million. The City of Aberdeen, with partners Greater Grays Harbor Inc. and Grays Harbor County, is planning to construct a “Gateway Center” in downtown Aberdeen to house local economic organizations, as well as conference rooms for rent and a visitors center. In all, the project could cost more than $8 million to complete.
• Aberdeen landslide repair — $373,000.
• Cosmopolis School District funding — School Construction Assistance Program for Cosmopolis Elementary School, $1.445 million. Replaces plumbing in building which was built in 1960, replaces all windows to improve energy efficiency, and insulation as well. Updating all bathrooms to be ADA compliant. Electrical upgrades as well, and other safety improvements.
• Lake Sylvia State Park Legacy Pavilion — $696,000. In total the Legacy Pavilion Project is estimated at $750,000. The Friends of Schafer and Lake Sylvia have raised or received pledges adding up to $200,000 to match. The 1,100-square-foot closeable structure (3,000 square-feet including the space beneath the overhanging roof), as currently proposed and designed, will include a cold-water sink and counter tops behind a fireplace.
• Elma School District career and technical education — $30,000 for equipment
• Chehalis Basin flood projects — Up to $30.4 million is for advancing the long-term strategy for the Chehalis basin projects throughout the entire Chehalis River Basin. Up to $19.6 million in the state building construction account and $10 million in the federal account is for local priority flood protection and habitat restoration projects. The office of Chehalis Basin Board has discretion to allocate that funding. The plan is to fund Tier 1 projects, Board Chair Vickie Raines said Friday. Local Tier 1 projects are the north shore levee in Aberdeen at $1.5 million; Wynooche River Waste Water Treatment Plant protection project in Montesano at $5 million; Washington Coast Sustainable Salmon Foundation for salmon recovery at $45,914 . The funding also will go toward research and the board expects to bring plans for a retention facility (a dam) to the Legislature in 2019.
• North Cove erosion projects — $650,000. Pacific County organizations will be working to engineer long-term solutions to prevent further erosion of the North Cove area or potentially restore it.
• Westport Marina dredging — $2.5 million. Rep. Blake guessed it has been more than 25 years since it was last dredged and some areas are too shallow, and Rep. Jim Walsh R-Aberdeen said it was a well-known necessary project but regulations on dredging made passing it a challenge. “It was a project that everyone knew needed to get funded, but had missed in previous go-arounds,” said Walsh. “There’s very rigid turf on what parts of the marina you can dredge out. The Army Corps. has certain parts of the channel farther out, but the port is tasked with managing it within the marina.”
• Twin Harbors State Park: Renovation — $471,000. Blake said this would go toward moving the park’s camping areas and upgrading them to protect against potential floods.
• East Grays Harbor fiber project — $463,000. Grays Harbor PUD will be installing new fiber-optic cable for improved internet connections in Satsop and Elma School districts, the Schouweiler industrial park and local homes and businesses.
“School, residential and business interests in Satsop and Elma will see additional options for improved internet and communication services because of this project,” said Grays Harbor PUD Core Services Director Rob Hanny in a press release. “Thanks to the leadership of our legislative partners, this will mean improved service and greater flexibility within the PUD capital budget and the opportunity to complete other projects.”
The request was sponsored by Rep. Mike Chapman and supported by fellow 24th district legislators Steve Tharinger and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege.
• Hoquiam library — $250,000.
• Coastal Harvest roof replacement (Hoquiam) — $206,000.
• Ocean City State Park — $1,526,000 for replacing bathrooms.