Washington state’s 2022 supplemental capital budget approved by the state Legislature features close to $800,000 for projects in Ridgefield and Woodland, as the project to replace the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River received $1 billion in funding for the bi-state project to move forward.
On March 9, the Washington State Legislature agreed on the supplemental budget, which adds capital projects across the state to its biennial budget approved last year.
Of those new additions, $515,000 was awarded toward the construction of the new Woodland Community Library, and $258,000 went to Ridgefield for the construction of a splash pad at Overlook Park.
Woodland’s library project has been years in the making. In 2013, the Fort Vancouver Library District, which oversees libraries in Battle Ground, La Center, Ridgefield, Woodland and Yacolt, commissioned a facilities study which identified the need for bigger or new spaces within its jurisdiction.
The new building will be located on land purchased by the library district at 660 Goerig St. in Woodland. Initially planned to be a 12,000-square-foot facility, the district downsized its plans after the cost estimate came in at $2 million more than initially planned, an update from the district stated in December.
Because of that increase, the library district’s board of directors voted to pursue a smaller building at roughly 7,500-square-feet. The pared-down facility will still be more than three times the size of the library’s current location.
The redesign process for the new library is set to begin early this year, according to the December update.
Alongside Woodland’s funding, Ridgefield will see more than a quarter-million in funding to one of its quality of life improvements.
Ridgefield’s planned splash pad for Overlook Park will feature a design that incorporates aesthetics based on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge it overlooks and Mount St. Helens. During a December Ridgefield City Council meeting, city Public Works Director Bryan Kast said the city had around $500,000 budgeted for the project in 2022 alongside state funding. He said the city’s parks board favored a concept that allows the pad to be used year-round for events when weather doesn’t warrant the water.
The pad will use a recirculated water system. Kast said a system that funneled the water from the splash pad into the sewer system was cheaper, but it was not as environmentally friendly. That approach also was not favored by state health officials who preferred the recirculating system with treatment similar to a pool.
Outside of capital budget funding, North Clark County will also benefit from funding earmarked for Interstate 5 improvements across the Columbia River.
Though much of the North Clark County delegation in Olympia was against the overall $17 billion “Move Ahead Washington” transportation funding package passed by the Legislature, most agreed the $1 billion in earmarked funding for the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project was one of the good things to come out of the legislation.
Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, said he supported funding for the project 100%, but he didn’t support how it would be funded. He cited tax increases, a general focus on the Puget Sound region at the expense of the rest of the state, and annual $57 million transfers from the state’s Public Works Assistance Account among his reasons for rejecting the overall package.
In contrast, Vancouver Democratic Sen. Annette Cleveland was decidedly more approving of the bill’s passage.
“The I-5 bridge replacement funded by this package is the reason I came to Olympia 10 years ago,” Cleveland said in a statement following the House of Representatives and Senate’s agreement on the bill. “The ancient, inadequate I-5 bridge we rely on every day is decades overdue for replacement, and I knew our community could not move forward until we have a bridge designed for today’s traffic, transit and climate needs.”
Both the capital and transportation budgets need to be signed by Gov. Jay Inslee before they become law.
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