At its meeting Monday night, the Lakewood City Council unanimously passed a resolution that pledges to the Transportation Improvement Board that local funding will be available in 2013 and 2014 for two street projects.
In 2011, the city received grant awards from TIB worth $3 million for an improvement project on Bridgeport Way between 83rd Street and 75th Street, and $2.7 million for a project on South Tacoma Way from Highway 512 to 96th Street. The required local match of 20 percent ends up being $1.4 million, or $751,200 and $692,000, respectively.
Under state law, the city must submit written certification pledging to TIB the availability of its local match.
In the grant agreement, both projects were scheduled to be under construction in 2013, but to ease the financial burden on the city, TIB agreed to defer construction of the South Tacoma Way project to 2014.
Deputy Mayor Don Anderson questioned whether pushing the South Tacoma Way project out by a year would put the funds at risk, but Public Works Director Don Wickstrom said it was recommended to do so because it is a bigger project – and the economy remains stagnant.
“If we find more money in the meantime, there is nothing to stop us from moving forward,” he said.
Councilmember Jason Whalen asked what the South Tacoma Way project would do to “enhance” the area, given that portions of the street already have sidewalks.
Wickstrom concurred, but pointed out that the project will bridge the gaps where there are no sidewalks, and also add bike lanes.
“It’s a really nice improvement for the corridor between the north city limits with Tacoma to Gravelly Lake Drive,” he said.
After subtracting various costs including developer contributions and capital-fund contributions, the total unfunded balance totals $642,600. Among the options to fund the remaining balance are that the city could assume that the revenue of the Street Capital fund over the next two years would cover the obligations; the city could use General Fund money to fund the project; or the city could take out a three-year loan.
Public Works’ preferred option is to secure additional grants to cover the financial obligations, and Wickstrom said that there are opportunities available in the near future to apply for money. The loan is the preferred backup option.
“We’ve got a couple of years to think about it,” he said.
Had the council opted not to adopt the resolution, TIB would have been able to reallocate the $5.7 million in grant money earmarked for the two projects. Once the money was gone, it would be highly unlikely that the city would be able to re-secure such grants.
Also Monday, Mayor Doug Richardson commended a quartet of 2012 Daffodil Princesses: Madison Newberry from Lakes, Cinthia Vazquez from Clover Park, Eunice Kim from Curtis and Brianne Shaw from Mount Tahoma.
“We’re very proud of you,” he told the newly minted official ambassadors for Pierce County.
Richardson presented the four Daffodil Princesses with commemorative City of Lakewood coins.
“I would like to thank you all for your generosity and support for the Daffodil Festival,” Vazquez said.
Newberry said that it is especially meaningful to represent the town where she was born and raised.
“I get the wonderful pleasure of getting to go around to other towns and show the essence of Lakewood,” she said.