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Covington Community Park to receive grant funds

The city of Covington isn’t sure where the all money will come from to fund phase two of Covington Community Park, but officials don’t appear worried.

“We are more comfortable this time around than we were with the first phase,” said Scott Thomas, the city’s Parks and Recreation director. “(The City Council is) very strongly and clearly in support of delivering this park because it’s what the community has been asking for.”

The council accepted the parks and recreation commission’s recommendation to accept a more than $2 million grant for planning, design and construction of the second phase of the project at a meeting Feb. 14.

The construction cost for the second phase is estimated at $3 million and, depending on the actual design process costs, the city may need to identify and secure an additional $450,000 before construction can proceed.

“It is all really round figures until we get the design done with the cost attached to it,” Thomas said. “We wouldn’t be going down a road if we didn’t think we were going to succeed.”

The city has identified multiple ways to close the potential funding gap, including reducing the scope and cost of the project.

Thomas said the city has applied for a $500,000 grant through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program that would extinguish the funding concerns.

During a strategic planning retreat last month, city officials decided that some unallocated reserves would be spread equally among parks, transportation and the Town Center project, according to City Manager Derek Matheson.

Matheson hopes the portion for the parks could go toward this project if the Wildlife and Recreation grant falls through.

“I think there is the political will to do this,” Matheson said. “The Covington Community Park is really important to the City Council, parks and recreation commission and our community.”

The nearly 30-acre park is located at the southwest corner of 180th Avenue SE and SE 240th Street. The second phase contract includes construction of a community event stage, picnic shelters, outdoor exercise equipment and tennis courts.

The phase two timeline calls for a completed design by the end of 2014 and to bid the project in the winter of 2015, with construction completed by fall 2016. The park outside the construction zone will remain open during construction.

The city completed phase one, which included construction of the city’s first full size grass soccer fields; a playground, a Teen Zone and picnic shelters in 2013. A third phase, which includes a lighted turf field, is expected to be the most expensive of them all.

 

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