The Senate’s proposed capital budget funds a number of projects of major importance to the 10th Legislative District, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen said today.
“These projects will improve our communities and at the same time provide jobs that are dearly in demand,” Haugen said. “They not only promise a better future for our community, they will provide real jobs and wages that our residents and our communities need today in these difficult economic times.”
One project preserves and opens to the public a 60-acre property owned by Seattle Pacific University on Whidbey Island.
“The property includes a half-mile of feeder bluff waterfront on Admiralty Inlet, which benefits salmon and other fish, and attractive walking trails that are now private but would become easily accessible to the public,” said Pat Power of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust. “It also has a really amazing old-growth forest on it that is one of the best examples of low-elevation coastal forest. There are only a few remaining in Washington state, and it’s just unbelievably beautiful.”
Powell said the budget will also enable the university to restore existing historical structures to draw more conferences and visitors to Camp Casey and to Whidbey Island, which will boost the local economy, and to build new structures that will attract new types of visitors.
“We are just so grateful to Sen. Haugen for her work on this incredible heritage property and also to help Camp Casey recover from this economic downturn and thrive,” Powell said. The budget also provides for critical flood protection in downtown Mt. Vernon, where past floods have required more than 2,000 volunteers putting in place more than 150,000 sandbags to protect the downtown.
“This flood project is probably one of the most significant flood protection projects in the country,” Mayor Jill Boudreau said. “Our project protects the lowest part of the dike and the lowest downtown area. This project, when completed, will take the whole area out of the floodplain, so it’s pretty significant.”
This funds the second phase of a three-phase project and would enable construction to begin this year, with a completion date in 2013.
Another key project in the proposed budget provides for the first phase of a project to transform the La Conner waterfront with a 2,780-foot-long boardwalk that travels over existing structures, on uplands and across new areas over the water.
“This is a 30-year dream that wouldn’t have been possible without the work of Sen. Haugen, and it’s finally going to be realized,” said La Conner Mayor Ramon Hayes. “I’m at a loss for words almost. La Conner has been talking about the boardwalk for 30 years.
“The commitment that Sen. Haugen has had over the years to the district and the Town of La Conner is just amazing. She has been a friend of La Conner, and we appreciate it.”
Hayes said the project will create family-wage paying jobs and boost tourism and the level of economic activity exponentially. “The folks of the town of La Conner also benefit in a huge way, gaining waterfront access, but this is first and foremost about jobs and economic activity.”
In contrast to the state’s operating budget, which uses tax revenues to fund the operation of state government, the capital budget uses bonds to pay for physical improvements to buildings, facilities and public lands.