Seattle—Governor Gregoire’s economic stimulus package known as the Washington Jobs Now Initiative includes six Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) projects that will improve and develop parks and trails and create jobs in communities throughout the state. The projects were taken from the list of parks, wildlife habitat and farmland preservation project applications that were approved last September by the Recreation and Conservation Office to be eligible for funding through the WWRP in the 2009 legislative session. Projects include:
Palouse: Palouse City Park Renovation, $12,000
This project requires labor for the removal of outdated and unsafe children’s playground equipment and replacement of modern equipment, construction of a new sidewalk, picnic shelter and public restrooms. This project will allow Palouse to create a safer park for younger kids between the ages two to five years old and also make it more accessible to everyone in the community.
Issaquah: Central Park Multi-purpose sports turf, $500,000
The project requires the installation of lighted artificial turf fields in Issaquah’s Central Park to improve this currently natural grass field that has been overused by ever-growing soccer, lacrosse and youth football teams. In 2008, the field was completely unusable due to swamped conditions. These improvements will create a lasting and sustainable multi-use field for Issaquah and the greater east King County community.
Liberty Lake: Rocky Hill Park, $503,500
Liberty Lake is one of the fastest growing cities in Eastern Washington with a population that has more than doubled to 7,500 since 2001. It has only one city-owned park which receives thousands of visitors each year. This project will create 5.5 additional acres of park space and requires labor for construction of irrigation systems, restrooms, paved pathways, 2 tennis courts, community garden, playground, picnic areas, informal amphitheater, signs and landscaping.
King County: Mt. Si Trail, $170,000
Northwest weather conditions and aging have caused two 15-year old bridges on the Mt. Si Trail and Francis North accessible/interpretive trail built to rot and be on the verge of collapsing. Currently the accessible/interpretive trail is closed due to the unsafe bridge conditions. This project would replace these bridges in the Mt. Si Natural Resource Conservation Area, a very popular destination for Puget Sound Metropolitan Area residents.
Lewis County: Willapa Hills Trail, $300,000
The Willapa Hills Trail is a 56-mile long rail trail which runs from Chehalis in Lewis County to South Bend in Pacific County. Currently most of the trail is closed to the public because of the 2007 flood damage. This project requires labor to pave 1.5 miles of trail in order to complete and open the 4.7-mile portion of trail between Chehalis and Adna.
Pierce County: Chambers Creek North Dock, $750,000
This project will provide public access for the first time in over 100 years in this location to over two miles of Puget Sound shoreline with views of the islands and Olympic Mountains and the peninsula. The project requires labor to extend a pedestrian overpass and construct two sets of permanent stairs that will provide direct access to the beach and shoreline.
WWRP grants are funded in the state’s capital construction budget, primarily from the sale of general obligation bonds. They do not compete with operating dollars for teachers and human services. Capital dollars can fund development projects that create local jobs and acquisitions and easements put money in the pockets of local landowners. These projects fuel the economy and generate taxes that return to state and local coffers. The “green-frastructure” components of the Governor’s economic stimulus plan, including parks and trail development, will create jobs right now and invest in future jobs in local communities, create opportunities for people to enjoy and be active in the outdoors and conserve natural resources.
“We commend the Governor for her vision in using WWRP grants to both stimulate the economy and protect parks and natural areas. As a result, we’ll see improvements in communities all over the state. This is a very successful program that puts people to work and provides safe places for kids and families to enjoy the outdoors,” said Joanna Grist, Executive Director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.
Please contact Joanna Grist, Joanna@WildlifeRecreation.org, for contact information for each project contact. For more information, visit the website at www.WildlifeRecreation.org.