King County Executive Dow Constantine today thanked residents of the South Park community for their work over the past several weeks to collect more than 1,000 signatures and letters in support of the County’s application later this month for federal TIGER II dollars to complete the funding package for replacement of the South Park Bridge.
StoryKing County Executive Dow Constantine today thanked residents of the South Park community for their work over the past several weeks to collect more than 1,000 signatures and letters in support of the County’s application later this month for federal TIGER II dollars to complete the funding package for replacement of the South Park Bridge.
“Thanks to the overwhelming support of the community and commitments of funding from local and state sources, we are now in an excellent position to present a competitive application for federal funds for replacement of the South Park Bridge,” said Executive Constantine. “The more than 1,000 signatures gathered by residents in only a few weeks is a clear demonstration of just how important this bridge is to the community and the region.”
The signatures and letters were delivered today to the King County Department of Transportation.
At a neighborhood meeting a few months ago, South Park residents Elizabeth Mauro and Jacob Sazishinsky decided to launch a signature-gathering campaign as a visible sign of community support for bridge replacement. Knowing the diversity of their neighborhood, the two made sure everyone had a chance to express their support.
“For the majority of people in the South Park neighborhood, English is their second language, and many of them don’t have computers at home to write letters to their elected officials,” said Mauro. “We wanted to make sure the voices of all our neighbors are heard, not just the people that have the time and resources to be engaged.”
With the help of more than a dozen volunteers from the neighborhood, the organizers gathered 1,041 signatures in support of funding for a new South Park Bridge. Signatures were collected at the South Park Food Bank, Marra Farm, SeaMar Health Center, a number of neighborhood restaurants and shops, and local industries.
“This was a community-led effort,” said Mauro. “Each one of us took letters around to our neighbors to sign and local businesses posted them at their front counter.”
The latest signatures come in addition to the 150 individual letters the county has already received from community members in support of the TIGER II grant application.
The King County Road Services Division closed the 79-year-old bridge on 14th/16th Avenue South on June 30 due to its severely deteriorated condition. The division is installing a curb and pedestrian walkway in the roadway at the end of the closed bridge, creating about 3,000 square feet of public space on the South Park side of the Duwamish Waterway. South Park Arts will be organizing a work party for the weekend of Aug. 21 to bring some life to the new space. A temporary neighborhood dog park will be also built on one of the properties purchased for the new bridge project. The park will remain until the property is needed for the construction of the new bridge.
As the deadline nears for the grant submittal later in August, the county will begin removing the leaves from the old drawbridge which were locked in the upright position on June 30 to allow continued passage of marine traffic on the Duwamish. That project will last into September. Other demolition work is scheduled follow in 2011.
The cost to totally demolish the old bridge and build a new bridge is $130.8 million. Pledged funding now totals $98 million, and includes:
King County – $30 million
- State of Washington – $20 million
- City of Seattle – $15 million
- Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) – $15 million'
- State Transportation Improvement Board – $10 million
- Port of Seattle – $5 million
- Federal DOT-HUD funding bill - $3 million (pending Congressional approval)