State Legislature aims to fund several key Tacoma projects

A lightened mood among state legislators working with a $2 billion budget surplus could result in funding for several key projects in Tacoma, according to an update yesterday during city council study session at City Hall.

“Because the Legislature was working with a budget surplus, there was less pressure on prioritizing projects than there has been in the past,” said City of Tacoma government relations officer Randy Lewis, who provided an update on actions taken by the Legislature, which closed its 105-day session April 22.

Top Tacoma projects for which legislators have recommended funding include:

Cheney Stadium — Operators of the minor league baseball stadium would receive a second phase of funding totalling $2.5 million for infrastructure improvements and renovations. Over the last two years, the stadium has benefited from $5 million in funding for similar work.

Foss Waterway — The public development authority would receive $1 million for moorage during the 2008 Tall Ships Festival. Similarly, the Balfour Dock Building would receive $300,000 for renovations, and $150,000 would be earmarked for a kayak dock on the waterway.

Salishan — Tacoma Housing Authority and Metropolitan Development Council would share $2.9 million to create an education center as part of the Salishan Hope VI redevelopment project on Portland Avenue in Tacoma’s eastside neighborhood.

The Hilltop neighborhood also fared well. The MLK Housing Development Authority would receive $4 million for its Hilltop Renaissance Project, and $1.9 million would go to Centro Latino.

“MLK and Portland Avenue are both streets that did very, very well,” said Lewis.
Other projects of note include affected University of Washington Tacoma — namely, $6.1 million for design work on renovation of UW Tacoma’s Joy Building, and funding to increase enrollment to 2,109 full-time equivalent (FTEs) students in 2007-2008, and 2,349 FTEs in 2008-2009 (an increase from 1,869 in 2006-2007).

Overall, councilmembers appeared pleased with results. “There’s no question that our Tacoma-Pierce County delegation is back in Olympia,” said Councilmember Tom Stenger.