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Beech Street extension

The gravel and grassy areas between the utility poles and the fence for the Park Plaza Estates would be paved if the planned Beech Street extension is completed.

The state awarded the City of Longview $1 million during the recent Legislative session to help pave Beech Street from Oregon Way to California Way — a project that city officials say will open up about 50 acres of undeveloped property, which could result in about $100 million in investment and about 200 new family wage jobs.

City Manager Kurt Sacha Wednesday said the city is also very close to securing an additional $2.1 million federal Economic Development Administration grant.

“We were very excited about (the state funding) and obviously very pleasantly surprised,” Sacha said. “We certainly extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to 19th District legislators Sen. Dean Takko, Rep. Jim Walsh and Rep. Brian Blake for helping us in their efforts to see to it that this was included in the transportation package that came through the final Legislative session.”

The council had also unsuccessfully requested $1 million from the Legislature to renovate the bathrooms at Lake Sacajawea.

The City Council last summer approved a local improvement district (LID) for the Beech Street project that would have required nearby property owners to shoulder about $3.7 million of the $4.4 million.

The LID was brought forward by WRSCO, Inc., owner Pat Sari and property owners representing about 73 percent of the land in the area approved the measure.

The petition initially failed with a split 3-3 vote on the council after some property owners objected to the financing plan. (Councilwoman MaryAlice Wallis was absent.) But then the council brought it back two weeks later when all members were present, and the measure passed.

With additional funding in place, Sacha said property owners would only be responsible for about 50 percent of project costs, instead of about 75 percent as originally planned.

“This makes it very, very affordable. Those benefiting property owners hopefully are all feeling very good about that,” Sacha said.

In addition to economic development in the area, the new road could alleviate traffic coming off the Lewis and Clark Bridge, he added.

The project is still in design but could go out to bid as early as the end of the summer, Sacha said. If that happens, construction could begin in the fall.

“With any luck, a year from now we could be driving on it.”

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