The City is happy to report the Tolt Avenue Project is moving forward and we are on track to start construction in early 2019. In addition to the design nearing 60% completion, the City received some important news recently. With the approval of the 2017 State Capital Budget, the City will receive $1,545,000 from the State for this project. This funding will cover more than 30% of the construction costs and will ensure that the Tolt Avenue project is a reality. This would not have been possible without the support of our State Officials that represent District 5. So, a big thank you to Senator Mark Mullet, Representative Paul Graves and Representative Jay Rodne.
The remaining funds needed for this project will come from additional grant funding or growth-related revenues such as the City’s Transportation Impact Fees and the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET). Other grants revenues which have been secured include funding from the Department of Ecology ($800,000), Puget Sound Energy ($432,000) and Washington State DOT ($200,000). These funds combined with the City’s Impact Fees and REET funds will provide the funding needed to proceed with the project. The City will continue to pursue additional grants to add more coverage for the project costs and potentially allow the City to reduce its funding level. The City still stands behind its position that no property or business owner will be taxed for the improvements, but we will all enjoy the benefits.
For those not familiar with the Tolt Avenue Project, the City will revitalize a four-block section of Tolt Avenue (from Eugene to Rutherford) to improve the aesthetics of our downtown core and make it a safer pedestrian friendly environment for residents. The project will create places to stop, gather and sit in the downtown. The appearance of the Central Business District will be improved with new lighting, trees and plantings, new drainage, added parking and underground power and utilities. The City fully expects that the improved Tolt Avenue environment will encourage growth of our business district. This business growth will not only create additional shopping choices for residents but it would also generate more sales tax revenue for basic services such as police and parks.
We are all proud of Tolt Avenue. While things are good, the City Council is committed to this revitalization project that will make our charming downtown even stronger. The City would like to thank the Advisory Committee for its investment of many man-hours to create a positive and sustainable design for Tolt Avenue. The City would also like to thank all the residents who have participated in the many Community Open House’s that helped finalize the design of our new corridor. I know we will all enjoy walking down the improved Tolt Avenue once completed. As always, please contact City Hall with any questions about this or any matter.
Amy Arrington, City Manager