Kittitas County as a whole fared pretty well in the capital project funding cycle this past legislative session.

Gov. Jay Inslee still has to sign off, but if everything moves ahead there are several examples of funding that will make a difference in Kittitas County.

Near the top of the list $722,000 for a new FISH Food Bank building. Last fall, FISH officials said they’d need to leave the current location at the Mercer Creek Church complex because of the church’s expansion plans and the space needs of the food bank.

This spring the food bank officials thought they’d found a new location on Kittitas County property at Bowers Field. Issues arose with that location, including accessibility to users, so an application was put together rapidly to apply for state capital fundings.

Kudos to the food bank officials, as well as our 13th District elected representatives, for working together and coming up with a proposal that received state funding.

The food bank still does not have a new home, but now has the ability to pursue a facility on a couple of different locations — a county-owned plot on 15th Avenue, and another owned by Central Washington University on Helena Street.

It is good to see that county officials are continuing to work with FISH and that Central also is in the mix. The food bank is a vital community service, which has always received strong public support.

The food bank has about $250,000 in its building fund, so with the state funding it should be possible to construct a facility that can meet long-term needs.

Another big ticket item was the $900,000 for a early learning facility for the Ellensburg School District. Over the past few years there has been discussions about an early learning facility — including in conjunction with the elementary school projects voters approved. The district opted to not pursue that path with voters so the state funding will allow a need to be addressed.

According to the the information provided by the district the facility will be at the Mount Stuart Elementary School property.

As always, Central Washington University scored well in the capital budget. This is of interest not only the CWU but to the city of Ellensburg, which benefits from building permit fees for the large CWU projects.

Central’s big project this cycle was the new health sciences building, which will be constructed on the site of Hertz Hall, once it is demolished. The project received $32 million.

Central also received $5 million for the design phase for the expansion of Nicholson Pavilion to provide more space for the department of physical education, and the school of health and movement studies. Designing funding sets the stage for the school seeking $61 million in construction funding down the road.

There are projects throughout the county, including projects in Roslyn, and one of the smaller projects of interest is the funding received by the Odd Fellows Lodge to help in renovating the historic lodge building on Pine Street.


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