Finally, the funding is here for the restoration of lower Bear Creek, proving that politicians can cross party lines and accomplish something positive for the community.
The funding is now in place through collaborative efforts between the State Department of Transportation and the City of Redmond to relocate and enhance a portion of the Bear Creek that runs next to SR 520.
The state will provide $8 million for the $10 million project. The remaining $2 million will funded through Redmond’s Capital Investment Program and grants.
It seems politicians are always being criticized for lots of talk and no walk. This funding partnership shows otherwise.
First-term Redmond mayor John Marchione said securing funds for this important environment project would be one of his first things on his to-do list.
With the support of several state politicians, Marchione delivered on his promise.
“This collaboration between the City and State emphasizes how solving our regional transportation challenges and improving our environment can move forward together,” Marchione said.
It’s been a long time coming to secure money for this project, which will move the creek further from 520 in order to enhance the river’s habitat. With a SR 520 widening project between West Lake Sammamish Drive and SR 202 ready to break ground, the Bear Creek restoration project is vital in protecting Redmond’s ecological habitat. After all, there has to be a substantial buffer between our natural environment and man-made infrastructure.
This project has been an objective for Redmond politicians for more than a decade, but the funding was always elusive.
In 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers supported the project, but it was put on hold when federal funds were cut off.
Recently, the project was placed on the priority actions list for the Water Resource Inventory Area 8 Plan, but the available grant money was not enough to begin the project.
Then state funding became available through the SR 520 Bridge Replacement project (over Lake Washington) and last Friday, Representatives Deb Eddy and Ross Hunter, both Democrats from the 48th Legislative District, presented a giant salmon-shaped $8 million check to Marchione in front of City Hall.
Eddy best summed up the long political process to secure the funds at last Friday’s celebration event: “Politics is like pushing a peanut up the hill with your nose and then watching it roll back down again.”
Well, the peanut has finally stopped rolling.
Redmond is blessed to have a unique mixture of natural and urban environments. Kudos to state and local politicians who never gave up on this essential environmental project, helped make this funding partnership possible and prove that politicians can deliver more than just empty promises.