From Fort Flagler to Peninsula College, state money will wash across North Peninsula
OLYMPIA — The 24th Legislative District will get more than its share of the state's capital budget for 2015-2017.
The North Olympic Peninsula will receive nearly 2 percent — at least $77.55 million — of the state's biennial capital budget of $3.9 billion.
That's because the population of the district that comprises all of Clallam and Jefferson counties and most of Grays Harbor County — roughly 133,000 — totals only a slim fraction of Washington's 7.1 million people. The district's distribution equates to about 105 percent of the state average per capita, or $584 per person compared with a state average of $557.
■ An Allied Health and Early Childhood Development Center at Peninsula College in Port Angeles leads the list with a $23.8 million allocation.
■ Restoration of the lower Dungeness River floodplain will get $9.5 million.
■ The effort to remove garbage from Port Angeles' Westside landfill and keep it from tumbling into the Strait of Juan de Fuca will receive $7 million .
■ In Jefferson County, the state will spend nearly $4 to replace failing electrical power and preserve World War I-era facilities at Fort Flagler and to improve building exteriors, replace failing sewer lines and relocate a maintenance shop at Fort Worden.
Grants from the state Recreation Conservation Office for Jefferson County projects also include a $481,000 farmland grant to the Jefferson Land Trust for the Bishop Dairy project, $500,000 for trails at Discovery Bay, and $200,000 for aquatic lands enhancement.
The recreation agency had been expecting $55 million from the capital outlay but received a $38 million windfall.
While most people won't see some of the improvements — like the nearly $11.1 million for a security cameras, new roofs, and road repairs and a culvert replacement the Clallam Bay Correctional Center — others will brighten some lives — namely, the $227,000 to replace lights at Port Angeles Civic Field.
For some projects, the local impact could outweigh the expenditure.
For instance, more than $1 million to rebuild a Department of Natural Resources structure in Forks also promises the community that the agency will remain there, said Susan Trettevik, DNR's region manager.
The 7,000-square-foot wooden structure will replace one destroyed by fire in January 2013.
“It's a sign to people that DNR is staying here and active here,” Trettevik said.
The building will house the agency's auto shop, wood shop, warehouse, radio facilities and information technology equipment, currently spread out among metal storage containers on the property at 411 Tillicum Lane.
Trettevik said DNR's goal was to advertise for bids next month, award a contract in September and complete construction by November 2016.
Trash at tipping point
Other projects' impact will take some time to be felt, like the landfill remediation.
It was too soon Thursday to predict if the city of Port Angeles will decrease its fees to dump trash at the facility that is now a transfer station.
Craig Fulton, city director of public works and utilities, told Peninsula Daily News, “I wouldn't make any assumptions right now.
“We're still trying to gather more information on the funding, so we really don't have any comment until we get more details.”
Nevertheless, state Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, who represents the 24th District that encompasses Clallam and Jefferson counties and most of Grays Harbor County, said Port Angeles' tipping fees already are the highest in the region.
The state aided the remediation project, Hargrove said, because city officials convinced legislators that citizens couldn't afford to pay any more.
Toddlers in college
At Peninsula College, the Allied Health and Early Childhood Development Center project is being bid in two phases:
■ Demolition and utility work, with a contract expected to be awarded in about a month.
■ Construction of the building, with advertising for bids set for Aug. 26.
Completion of the two-story, 41,650-square-foot center, which will include childcare facilities, is set for early 2017.
West of Port Angeles, another project will mean hikers and bicyclists can get to Clallam County's West End without dodging traffic on U.S. Highway 101.
A $460,000 grant will retrofit the closed McFee Tunnel that connects east and west portions of Olympic Discovery Trail and the Spruce Railroad Trail, linking 60 miles of trail to the east and 20 miles to the west.
“It really is a missing link,” said Sarah Thirtyacre, senior grant manager at the recreation agency.
Olympic Peninsula tribes also shared in the capital outlay, with the Makah receiving $174,000 for salmon restoration and the Quinault receiving $1.9 million for Quinault River nearshore habitat, $343,000 for nearshore restoration, and $64,000 to demonstrate traditional methods of enhancing native plants and wildlife on Moses Prairie along Whale Creek in northwest Grays Harbor County.
Let there be lights
The new lights at Port Angeles Civic Field likely will be installed next spring, according to Corey Delikat, city Parks and Recreation director.
Total cost of the project is $453,000, including $106,500 from city real estate excise taxes, $60,000 from the city general fund, and $60,000 from the Port Angeles School District, which uses the field as its main outdoor venue for soccer and football.
Civic Field lighting, installed in 1978, is so old that parts are scarce. Twenty lights are out.
“The city has kept the facility running by literally soldering lights back together again,” Thirtyacre said.
Civic Field is singular on the Peninsula as a venue for regional sports, Thirtyacre added.
“It's not like you have other areas where there are lots of opportunities,” she said.
The new lights, affixed atop 80- to 100-foot-tall poles, will put out 25 percent more shine and provide 27 percent savings per year, or about 47,000 kilowatt hours.
The lights will be more directed than the present array and generate less glare, Delikat said.
State capital budget appropriations for the North Olympic Peninsula include the following projects.
■ $23.8 million for Allied Health and Early Childhood Development Center at Peninsula College.
■ $11.1 million for a security system, culvert replacement, road resurfacing and new roofs at Clallam Bay Correctional Center.
■ $9.5 million for floodplain restoration on the lower Dungeness River.
■ $7 million to remove garbage from an eroding bluff at the now-closed Port Angeles landfill site.
■ $1.5 million to clean up the former KPly mill site on Marine Drive.
■ $1.1 million for a new building at the Department of Natural Resources Olympic Region headquarters in Forks.
■ $1.1 million to repair a failing retaining wall at Sequim Bay State Park.
■ $900,000 for cleanup of toxic materials in Port Angeles Harbor.
■ $750,000 for Port of Port Angeles toxic materials remediation.
■ $460,000 to retrofit the McFee Tunnel on the Spruce Railroad Trail.
■ $450,000 for Guy Cole Convention Center, Sequim.
■ $344,000 for Dungeness Watershed Farmland Protection Phase 3.
■ $174,000 for Makah Tribe salmon restoration.
■ $123,220 for South Lake Ozette Natural Area Preserve.
■ $3.2 million for Dabob Bay Natural Area Shoreline.
■ $2.3 million to improve housing areas exteriors, replace failing sewers and relocate maintenance shop at Fort Worden.
■ $1.6 million to replace failing electrical power and preserve historic facilities at Fort Flagler.
■ $500.000 for Discovery Bay restoration and trail construction.
■ $481,000 for Bishop Dairy preservation, Chimacum.
■ $250.000 for Olympic Discovery Trail construction, Discovery Bay.
■ $119,000 for Queets River project.
■ $1.9 million for Quinault River nearshore habitat, $343,000 for nearshore restoration, and $64,000 to demonstrate traditional methods of enhancing native plants and wildlife on Moses Prairie along Whale Creek in northwest Grays Harbor County.
■ $560,000 for sustainable management of Upper Quinault River floodplain.
■ $152.000 to replace toilets at Ocean City State Park, Grays Harbor County.
■ $72,000 for Damon Point restoration and trail signs, Grays Harbor County.
The Nature Conservancy's Hoh River riparian restoration in Jefferson County was listed as an alternative for funding by the Washington wildlife and Recreation Program.
“These are important projects across the district, and I'm pleased the state followed through with these investments into our local communities,” said Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam.
For more details on the capital budget, visit http://leap.leg.wa.gov/.
Source: House Office of Program Research and Senate Committee Services. Amounts above $1 million are rounded to the nearest $100,000. Figures do not reflect minor works of preservation and repair by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Community and Technical College System.