Transportation funds, WWR grants propel Port Orchard projects closer to completion
PORT ORCHARD — Three prominent civic projects — the Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway, McCormick Village Park and the DeKalb Pier replacement — are closer to realization after they received significant funding from the Washington State Legislature and the state’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
The Legislature passed a compromise capital budget and transportation package June 30 that allocated money to the three projects. Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes called the passage “a significant investment in Port Orchard.”
Kitsap County received grants and funding for seven projects totaling $3.13 million. The Port Orchard projects received a total of $4,491,750 in funding.
Matthes said the state funding would not have been possible without the help of the 26th District’s state legislators. “The help from State Senator Jan Angel and Representatives Jesse Young and Michelle Caldier was critical in securing the funding. This (funding) was more than we could have hoped for.”
Within the compromise capital budget was $55 million allocated to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation grant program. Seventy projects out of 215 submitted statewide to the program received grant money.
Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway
The Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway project was Port Orchard’s big winner in the state funding sweepstakes.
The long-delayed waterfront project is a “multimodal” bicycle/pedestrian pathway that is to connect the Port Orchard and Annapolis Mosquito Fleet ferry terminals.
The project received the full $3.5 million it requested from the state. The money — allocated from the 2015-2017 Transportation package — is to be used for the construction phase of the pedestrian and bicycle safety project. It’s the last piece of the financial puzzle for the Bay Street project that has had trouble over the past several years in finding funding sources.
Adding to the jubilant feeling at City Hall, there was more good news for the pedestrian project. It also received $105,750 in funding from the WWRP grant program.
The money is to be used to purchase 1.7 acres of property between the Comfort Inn and Marlee Apartments that would allow right-of-way and easement to connect the pathway and allow for construction of a pocket park.
Mark Dorsey, Port Orchard’s public works director, confessed he was “surprised — shocked, actually” about the Bay Street funding success. “It’s not often that the grant process provides more money than anticipated,” he said. “Usually you’re dealing with funding that’s less than what you hoped.”Dorsey said $2.2 million already has been allocated for the project’s right-of-way acquisition process from federal funding sources. With those additional dollars, he expects right-of-way acquisition and certification will be completed sometime next year.
Construction leading to the overall project completion is anticipated to start in 2017 or 2018.
Later this year, construction of a bike/pedestrian bridge over Blackjack Creek will begin.
An additional benefit from receiving funding for the Bay Street project, Dorsey said, is that it no longer will be forced to compete with the city’s Tremont widening project for state money.
Under the city’s transportation plan, Tremont is to be widened from two lanes to four and will include a median, curbs and gutter, sidewalks, bike lanes and street lighting. Along with underground utilities, two roundabouts are to be constructed on Tremont from SR 16 to Port Orchard Boulevard.
DeKalb Pier Replacement
The 2015-2017 capital budget allocated $500,00 to fully fund phase 2 of the DeKalb Pier replacement. A new pier will be built and extended 300 feet with a finger pier, Dorsey said. This improvement, he added, will give Port Orchard a suitable location for public day-use moorage in the downtown area.
Phase 1 of the project has been completed. It included upland improvements and complete replacement of the standing pier, also funded through the 2013 state capital budget.
The project will put the pier in compliance with a Department of Natural Resources requirement that it allow 7 feet of water between a boat’s keel and the harbor floor.
Pilings and floats will be fabricated offsite, Dorsey said, and barges will arrive to remove existing pilings. New pilings will be driven into the harbor floor, and new floats will be added.
Dorsey said he estimates it will cost $820,000 to complete the project, necessitating a need for the city to contribute about $60,000 from the 2016 city capital budget.
McCormick Village Park
While Dorsey was happily surprised with the Bay Street project funding, he said Nick Bond, Port Orchard’s Community Development director, was surprised with unanticipated funding for the McCormick Village Design project.
In fact, a city informational newsletter from March noted that the project was out of the running for WWRP money. Funding did materialize, however, through a Recreation and Conservation Local Parks grant, allocated from the state 2015-2017 capital budget.
Matthes said the grant funding will “allow Port Orchard to develop phase 2 of its first new park in more than 20 years.”
When completed, the 40-acre site will include a 1-mile trail loop with pedestrian bridge, entry plaza, children’s playground and boardwalk with a public viewing area optimized to enjoy the forested area around surrounding the park.
The city has satisfied the grant requirement for a 50-percent match by earlier paying for design work and phase 1 construction.“We’ve never been so successful,” Matthes said, “but we’re going to have to produce” to complete the work. He pointed to the 11.5-percent gas tax that helps fuel the transportation package as a “great return on investment for us.”