Proposed budgets include millions for Snohomish County projects

OLYMPIA — A waterfront center in Edmonds. A pocket park in downtown Arlington. A new Science, Engineering and Technology building at Edmonds Community College.

Those are among the many investments in Snohomish County the state House and Senate might make in the state’s next two-year capital budget, a fount of funds for public schools and colleges, community groups and youth organizations throughout Washington.

The House and Senate have each passed a spending plan for the fiscal cycle that begins July 1. Budget writers in the two chambers soon will begin negotiations to iron out their differences. Any deal probably won’t be reached before the regular legislative session ends April 23.

That’s because negotiations on a new operating budget are at a near standstill. Historically, legislative leaders won’t advance a capital budget until agreeing on how to pay for the government’s day-to-day operations. One or more special sessions might be needed to figure that out.

That means a period of waiting for those with projects supported in the House and Senate plans, as well as the capital budget released by Gov. Jay Inslee in December.

All three are recommending investing $2.25 million in developing a new waterfront community center in Edmonds.

The project’s estimated price tag is $11 million. When the year began, supporters had lined up $4.7 million in pledges, including a $2 million pledge from travel business entrepreneur Rick Steves, an Edmonds resident.

The 26,000-square-foot center is planned on the site of the current Edmonds Senior Center on Railroad Avenue. The goal is to start construction on the building in the first quarter of 2018 and for it to open about a year later.

Edmonds Community College is on course to receive $37.8 million for its building which is this year’s top construction priority of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

The proposed three-story, 70,000-square-foot building is designed to have 11 classrooms and nine laboratories for physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering and nursing courses plus office space. This would be the first new building constructed on campus in nearly a decade and would serve a growing number of students enrolling in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, officials have said

All three budgets dial in $99,000 for adding a gym in the Arlington Boys &Girls Club facilities and $120,000 for the Lake Stevens Boys &Girls Club to expand its teen center.

Some of the other Snohomish County projects in both the House and Senate capital budgets include:

$46,000 for a pocket park in the Arlington Downtown Business District;

$391,000 to replace the roof on the Frances Anderson Center in Edmonds;

$2 million for development of the Pathways to Medical Professions program in Everett Public Schools;

$257,000 for the next phase of remediation at the Mukilteo Tank Farm;

$1.09 million for the second phase of developing White Horse Trail.

There are some projects receiving different levels of support in the House and Senate spending plans.

For example, efforts to restore Japanese Gulch Creek in Mukilteo receive $504,000 in the House budget and $721,000 in the Senate plan while the Lake Stevens Civic Center project is slated to receive $1.4 million in the House plan and $3.1 million in the Senate’s.

And each budget supports Cocoon House receiving two grants totaling $1.07 million for its Colby Avenue Youth Center which provides services to homeless youth. On top of that, the Senate provides another $2 million for the organization.

Meanwhile, the House provides $2.16 million for Housing Hope in support of its HopeWorks Station project in Everett. There is no similar allotment in the Senate plan.

One difference between the two chambers involving Snohomish County deals with treatment and services in the community for those with mental illness and other behavioral health challenges.

Snohomish County joined with the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization in seeking $32 million for providing services in Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Island and San Juan counties.

The House penciled in $17 million for the organization of which $5 million is specifically for use at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center and another $5 million for an intensive treatment facility for those with substance use disorder.

The Senate meanwhile does not earmark any money for the organization. Rather it spends $29 million for community and institution-based mental health services as well as money for crisis walk-in services and drug and alcohol detox facilities.

Details of each budget, including a map of projects by legislative district and county, can be found online at www.fiscal.wa.gov.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield @heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

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