Covington finds the funds for new community park
Covington has managed to accumulate $1.5 million in funding for its community park project, according to Scott Thomas.
In early April it was unclear whether Covington would receive critical funding from the state, which had yet to finalize its budget.
“There was (definitely) some uncertainty about it,” Thomas said.
The state legislature ultimately approved a $42 million appropriation to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, $500,000 of which will go toward the Covington Community Park’s $1.8 million budget. The City Council is expected to authorize City Manager Derek Matheson to sign the grant agreement in two weeks.
Aside from the state, the city has also been awarded funding from other sources: A $700,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, $155,000 from the King County Parks’ levy, a $100,000 grant from the King Conservation District and a $75,000 grant from the King County Youth’s Facilities.
The King County Parks levy and the King Conservation District grant were noncompetitive.
Thomas stated Covington’s need, as well as their preparation, enabled them to secure the competitive grant funding.
“In our case, there is no full size soccer field, and no place to hold a community event or festival,” he said. “So our need was really high. And, we had done quite a bit of design work already before we went into the competition, so we could show it was a well designed facility to suit our particular need. Because we were so far in the design process we had a good cost estimate.”
To generate support for the project, the city has opened access to the park and created a trail system, which Thomas said has met with success.
“This summer we’ve seen quite a bit of activity,” he said. “The people are out there using it every day.”
According to Thomas, the city will have to create a project agreement to utilize the funds, which will be available to them this winter when they are expected to begin the bidding process for construction.
At present, they are working on environmental permits, which they plan to have by the end of the year. The bidding document is expected to be completed in February.
If all goes well, Thomas stated, park construction should begin by next summer and a ribbon cutting ceremony in the early fall. The sports field, however, will not be available for use until summer 2013.
“We need the grass roots to be established before we play on it,” said Thomas.
The Kent Youth Soccer Association has committed to providing up to $12,000 for equipment necessary for the soccer field, such as the goals.
“We are excited to partner in any way to help the Covington community we have served since before it was Covington,” said Jensen Wayne, president of the association.
The park site is roughly 30 acres. It was purchased by the city in 2003, brought into King County’s urban growth boundary in 2004 and then annexed into the city in 2008.