Shelton, Mason county projects included in state budget —

Shelton, Mason county projects included in state budget

By Natalie Johnson
Mason County Journal

In the last days of the second special legislative session, and with a possible government shut-down looming, the State Legislature approved a capital budget Saturday.

Several projects in Mason County and the 35th Legislative District received funding in that budget.

“I am pleased to have been a part of negotiating this capital budget,” state Rep. Drew MacEwen of the 35th Legislative District, said in a statement.

“It makes tremendous investments in our state such as the Yakima Water Basin, continued clean-up of Puget Sound, and key investments in the 35th District.”

In Shelton, the city of Shelton Wastewater Treatment Plant received $1.5 million and the Mason Transit Authority Transit Community Center received $800,000. The Safe Harbor organization received $100,000, HUB senior center project received $500,000, and the Boys & Girls Club of South Puget Sound received $800,000.

“I was kind of sweating it, so when it turned out it was in there it made me very, very happy,” said Patti Kleist, executive director of Faith in Action, which is leading the effort to get the Belfair senior center built.

Kleist thanked MacEwen for his work as a member of the Capital Budget Committee.

The project to build the senior center is now $500,000 shy of its $2.6 million goal to finish Phase 1 of the project, which includes the entire building and downstairs meeting areas.

“I think we had good bipartisan support on it,” Kleist said. “I think people realize if they help us get it we will be self-sustaining from that paint on.”

The Skokomish River floodplain restoration and management received $1.38 million.

The Legislature appropriated $65 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) in its capital budget, securing funding for 86 projects statewide.

Of those 86 projects, three are in Mason County.

The WWRP Secured $973,087 to purchase property within the Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve boundary.

The land includes marsh vegetation and riparian upland habitat. This area includes habitat for shorebirds and other waterfowl, birds of prey including bald eagles and peregrine falcons, and coho salmon, winter Steelhead and coastal cutthroat.

The WWRP also received $132,214 for the renovation of two infields at Mason County Recreation Area outside of Shelton. The project will replace dirt infields with synthetic turf. Two fields at the park were converted to turf infields in 2012.

“It’s good and bad,” said John Keates, director of facilities, parks and trails at Mason County. "The good is we got some money, the bad is we’re only partially funded.”

Keates said the county was hoping for $275,000 for the project. He said the county might have to consider adding synthetic turf to one infield rather than two. The capital budget also includes $1 million to enable the Capitol Land Trust, the Squaxin Island Tribe and other WWRP partners and restore 76 acres of land on Oakland Bay, on the current site of the Bayshore Golf Course. The land includes an estuary and riparian habitat.

The Legislature also set aside $2,540,000 for a WWRP grant for Washington State Parks to provide beach access at Fudge Point.

The WWRP was founded in 1989 by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition to preserve land for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat.

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