Can Skagit outdoors project make cut for state grant? —

Can Skagit outdoors project make cut for state grant?

By Kimberly Cauvel
Skagit Valley Herald
Mount Vernon floodwall project has been a recent beneficiary

MOUNT VERNON — Hundreds of outdoor recreation projects in Skagit County worth millions of dollars owe their existence to a state office that is ready to accept applications for another round of grant funding.

Since its formation 50 years ago, Washington’s Recreation and Conservation Office has awarded $136.5 million for 419 unique recreation, conservation and salmon enhancement projects in Skagit County.

One of those projects is still under construction in the heart of Mount Vernon, where Washington Wildlife Recreation Program grant money is helping lay the foundation for the Skagit Floodwall Revitalization project.

The city of Mount Vernon has received significant funding for its floodwall revitalization project, which includes building a walkway along the river.

Recreation and Conservation awarded the city a $500,000 grant for converting a downtown parking lot along the Skagit River into a park. It also awarded $1.8 million in other grants for building the walkway from the Division Street Bridge into the city center, which made it to the top slot through the agency’s rating system last year.

“We’re real proud of that,” Mount Vernon Parks and Recreation Director Larry Otos said.

The Recreation and Conservation Office uses a unique rating system for each grant program, Director Kaleen Cottingham said. Advisory committees of up to 15 citizens and experts review the applications and score them accordingly, compiling a list by rank.

Recreation and Conservation Grants Manager Marguerite Austin said Mount Vernon’s riverwalk project was particularly appealing because of the opportunity to create a public plaza right on the riverfront. The committee also noted its close proximity to the city’s annual tulip, beer and Highland Games festivals.

“Basically it was a parking lot before, and now it will be a community asset,” Cottingham said.

The riverwalk is in mid-construction. The target completion date for the park, between Myrtle and Gates streets, is September.

Read the complete story at Skagit Valley Herald
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