Budget priorities for the 21st District

By Sen. Marko Liias | Feb 27, 2019

I wanted to drop a quick note to update our community on a couple of important state budget requests I have submitted this session that will put people first and support our community.

I especially want to focus on district priorities for the state capital budget and how we can strengthen our reputation as one of the most livable, inclusive communities in the state.

Last year, I asked our budget leaders to replace a planned $750,000 appropriation to daylight Japanese Gulch Creek at the waterfront. I made this request for two reasons: first, the daylighting project could not be completed with the $750,000 grant and would have to wait for future funding before construction could begin; and second, after hearing from members of our community, I felt these funds should be put to immediate use to benefit our district.

So, at my request, some these funds were used to fund the construction of a new Peace Park, and the remainder of the funds were used to start planning for a new Mariner Community Campus.

I am pleased to report that these two investments are already exceeding our highest hopes! The city has shown incredible efficiency in planning, designing and beginning construction of the new Peace Park, which is on track to break ground in just a couple months. While this park can never replace the hole left by the young lives we have lost, this new and beautiful space will serve as a refuge, a place of solace for us all.

Additionally, the seed funding for the Mariner Community Campus project has resulted in an amazing public-private partnership that has formed to provide a comprehensive set of community resources for one of the most underserved parts of our county.

Which leads me to my two highest priorities for the state’s capital budget this year: continuing to build on the partnership to realize a Mariner Community Campus and daylighting Japanese Gulch Creek.

When we moved the partial funding of the daylighting project last year, I pledged to come back and ask for the full funding needed to complete the project. And Mayor Gregerson kept me to that promise!

Thanks to her leadership and the work of city staff, I have submitted a complete proposal to our budget team that will enable the city to see the project to completion. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the Legislature will join me in funding this important investment for our community.

It is worth noting that important investments like daylighting Japanese Gulch Creek take partnership and cooperation. As always, I welcome open dialogues from the constituents and leaders of the 21st District to ensure that we are fighting for our priorities side by side.

Unfortunately, because some lines of communication have withered, rhetoric has trumped the pursuit of concrete proposals and solutions. We have much work to accomplish together and it is my sincere hope that, no matter our political party or ideology, we can continue to build a better community for all.

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