Battle Ground community members, city officials gather for South Parkway project groundbreaking ceremony

BATTLE GROUND — Battle Ground community members, city staff and city council members (past and present) were able to enjoy a brisk, sunny morning out at Starting Grounds Church along South Parkway Avenue on Thursday as they all gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking to commemorate the beginning of construction on the long-awaited South Parkway Improvement Project.

 

While the free pastries and coffee, along with a few brief words from several city officials and city staff members, were enough to draw people to the Thursday morning event, the “cutest” part of the celebration was definitely the several small children from Country Campus Learning Center who were in attendance. Each child was wearing the appropriate yellow plastic hardhat and were each given a brightly colored plastic shovel in order to participate in the “groundbreaking.” When it came times for pictures, each child proudly displayed their shovel and yelled, “cheeeeeese!”

The children from Battle Ground’s Country Campus Learning Center who attended the South Parkway Improvement Project groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday morning were able to participate in the ceremonial “breaking of ground” with plastic shovels that they each received. Photo by Mike Schultz
The children from Battle Ground’s Country Campus Learning Center who attended the South Parkway Improvement Project groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday morning were able to participate in the ceremonial “breaking of ground” with plastic shovels that they each received. Photo by Mike Schultz

Battle Ground Mayor Philip Johnson kicked off the groundbreaking event by acknowledging and thanking the numerous people who made the project possible, including anyone who buys gas in the state of Washington (as part of the gas tax helped fund this project), all of the citizens of Battle Ground who pay the extra $20 vehicle tab fee in the city, representatives from the state Transportation Improvement Board, the children at the event from Country Campus and, of course, Kevin Tapani from Tapani, Inc.

“We’ve been making applications (to the state for grants for this project) for years, and we’ve always been the bridesmaids but never a bride,” Johnson said of attempting to get funding for the South Parkway project. “Now, we get to be a bride.”

Scott Sawyer, city of Battle Ground Public Works director, said the challenge with attempting to get funding was that they were always competing with other roads that had lots of accidents or where speeding was a common occurrence.

 

“There’s no speeding on Parkway,” Sawyer said, laughing. “I remember the second that I got the call (that we had received the funding). I was meeting the mayor, I believe it was Mayor (Shane) Bowman at the time, and as soon as I got that call, I can’t tell you how much I had the urge to get up and do the happy dance.”

Crew members from Tapani, Inc. have already started construction on the South Parkway Improvement Project and will continue for roughly the next seven months. The plan is to always have at least one lane open during construction in order to hopefully keep traffic flowing. Photo by Mike Schultz
Crew members from Tapani, Inc. have already started construction on the South Parkway Improvement Project and will continue for roughly the next seven months. The plan is to always have at least one lane open during construction in order to hopefully keep traffic flowing. Photo by Mike Schultz

Kevin Tapani, of Tapani, Inc., said members of his crew were excited to get started on the project, saying that “Parkway’s been bumpy and rough since I can remember.”

“I know it (work on the roadway) is an inconvenience for the next five, six, seven months,” Tapani said. “But please, work with us, talk to us, we’ll be doing the best we can.”

After the few brief speeches were given, city officials and staff, employees from Tapani and the kids from Country Campus all participated in some photos and the ceremonial placing a shovel into the dirt to signify the groundbreaking of the project.

Several Battle Ground City Council members, the mayor, city staff and representatives from the state Transportation Improvement Board participated in ceremonially shoveling the “first” bit of earth to signify the groundbreaking of the South Parkway Improvement Project on Thursday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz
Several Battle Ground City Council members, the mayor, city staff and representatives from the state Transportation Improvement Board participated in ceremonially shoveling the “first” bit of earth to signify the groundbreaking of the South Parkway Improvement Project on Thursday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz

The South Parkway Improvement Project will address two distinct sections of the roadway — Section A, the southern end of the project from Eaton to Rasmussen boulevards and Section B, the northern end from Rasmussen to Main Street. Section A requires complete reconstruction of the roadway in order to remove and replace the road’s failing base.

Battle Ground Mayor Philip Johnson shakes the hands of each of the children from the Battle Ground Country Campus Learning Center who attended the South Parkway Improvement Project groundbreaking ceremony on Thu., March 16. Photo by Mike Schultz
Battle Ground Mayor Philip Johnson shakes the hands of each of the children from the Battle Ground Country Campus Learning Center who attended the South Parkway Improvement Project groundbreaking ceremony on Thu., March 16. Photo by Mike Schultz

New features will include sidewalks on the east side, ADA ramp upgrades, planter strips, bike lanes, lighting, a travel lane in each direction and a center left-turn lane. Construction activities will include stormwater facilities and an upgrade to the water and sewer utilities infrastructure. Section B, between Rasmussen and Main, requires less work with a process referred to as “mill and fill.” The first few inches of the roadway will be ground down and then a new layer of asphalt will be laid. Sidewalk ADA ramps will be upgraded and some utility work will be completed.

Battle Ground Public Works Director Scott Sawyer hands out certificates to each of the children from Battle Ground’s Country Campus Learning Center who attended the South Parkway Improvement Project groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz
Battle Ground Public Works Director Scott Sawyer hands out certificates to each of the children from Battle Ground’s Country Campus Learning Center who attended the South Parkway Improvement Project groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday morning. Photo by Mike Schultz

The $5.6 million project is fully funded with the majority of funding from two Washington State Transportation Improvement Board grants totaling $4.3 million. Funding sources include:

  • Washington State Transportation Improvement Board Grants: $4,305216
  • Battle Ground Traffic Impact Fees: $695,000
  • Battle Ground Water Fund: $498,350
  • Battle Ground Sewer Fund: $41,000
  • Battle Ground Transportation Benefit District (TBD): $65,000

The project will take approximately seven months to complete depending on factors such as weather. For additional details about the South Parkway Improvement Project and to keep up with the timeline of the project, visit http://www.cityofbg.org/s-parkway.

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About The Author

Joanna Nicole Yorke is a 2010 graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in political science. Yorke is a Clark County native, growing up on her family's 12-acre farm in La Center where her family still resides today. She was previously a reporter at The Reflector Newspaper, covering the city of Battle Ground, the Battle Ground School District and a variety of other areas and topics.

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