Several North Clark County projects receive funding from state capital budget


State funds were allocated to several North Clark County projects this year after Gov. Jay Inslee signed the 2023 capital budget for Washington on May 16.

The nearly $9 billion budget includes around $32 million for projects in the north side of the county and in Woodland. Projects range from new state facilities to improvements or construction of recreational fields.

The largest appropriation for North Clark County is about $20.6 million for a behavioral health treatment center near Washington State University Vancouver. The 48-bed center will be located on about 12 acres at 16015 NE 50th Ave. with completion expected in fall 2024.

The region also received another multi-million dollar appropriation of about $5.6 million for the rehabilitation of the East Fork Lewis River. The funding, administered through the state’s “Floodplains By Design” program, will be used to reconnect 300 acres of floodplain and restore 2.5 miles of riverside habitat along the river, west of Daybreak Regional Park and southeast of La Center.

That funding joins $7.5 million announced in April from U.S. Sen Maria Cantwell’s office and about $7 million from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office announced in September.

The funding will cover the project which is intended to restore the area of the “Ridgefield Pits.” In the 1990s, the East Fork Lewis River changed course as it flowed into nine abandoned gravel pits and impacted salmonid and lamprey species in the river.

The east side of the county received $1 million in funding for a regional criminal justice center in the capital budget. Allocated for the 17th Legislative District, the appropriation comes after Inslee announced a proposal for regional police academies last year. One of four of those new facilities is slated for Clark County.

For North Clark County cities, Battle Ground received the most in 2023’s capital budget.

The city had about $1.3 million appropriated for water reservoir capacity and seismic work. The project will nearly double Battle Ground’s current water storage capacity, expanding it from 1.78 million gallons to 3.28 million gallons, according to a project description from the city.

Battle Ground is projected to exceed water storage capacity by next year, the project description stated. The capacity increase is projected to meet the city’s water needs for 20 years.

The project will replace the current facilities, since the current water storage configuration has significant seismic risks. If the existing infrastructure was upgraded, it “would be extremely costly,” the project description stated. The $1.3 million is matched by $4 million in funding from the city.

Battle Ground also received a $1 million appropriation for its “Eaton Urban Pathway Project.” The project is part of general improvements to Southwest Eaton Boulevard between Southwest 20th Avenue and state Route 503.

The $1 million appropriation is specifically earmarked for bicycle and pedestrian aspects of the project, Battle Ground City Manager Erin Erdman stated in an email. Alongside the addition of bike lanes and sidewalks, the road will be reconstructed into a three-lane section, which will include an eastbound right turn lane and second westbound turn lane to the state Route 503/Eaton Boulevard intersection, according to a project description.

La Center received $1 million in funding for the replacement of a culvert over Brezee Creek on East Fourth Street. The replacement is intended to restore fish passage and is part of a larger reconstruction of the street, according to the city’s 2023 legislative agenda.

The project is estimated to cost $12 million and has already received millions in state and federal funding, the legislative agenda stated. In 2019, the Legislature appropriated $1.5 million for design and preconstruction work, and in 2020, the city received more than $1 million through the federal Rural Surface Transportation Block Grant program for construction in 2024.

The city is seeking additional funds through the state Transportation Improvement Board and through other grant opportunities, including those for fish passage and habitat.

“This project represents a great partnership between federal, state and local government,” the legislative agenda stated.

Ridgefield will also receive funding from the capital budget. It is one of two North Clark County cities with money from the budget going to recreational facilities. The Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex received a total of $800,000 in appropriations, $350,000 of which will go to athletic field lights.

Woodland also received capital budget appropriations for the Scott Hill Park and Sports Complex, which is currently under construction. The park received $659,000 in total in the budget, $309,000 of which is specifically for artificial turf fields.

The project is more than a decade in the making, with the first phase nearing completion. When fully completed, the park will include eight athletics fields, a walking trail, parking and restrooms, according to design documents.