Sen. Sheldon gets tough on grime
OLYMPIA – Final budgets approved as the Washington Legislature headed toward adjournment Thursday night include important projects for the 35th District and a good start on cleanup of the grimy state Capitol.
State Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, sponsor of a bill (Senate Bill 6625) advocating a thorough scrubbing of the Legislative Building, said he was glad to see the project win funding in the state’s public-works budget. The supplemental capital budget provides $3.4 million to clean the building’s exterior and make repairs to a leaking roof. That’s enough to clean the dome down to the roofline. The remainder of the building presumably will come later.
“The filthy dome is the most urgent part of the project,” Sheldon explained. “Mold and lichen have blackened the building, and you have to wonder about the effect on the people who work inside. My bill suggested that the fungus contributes to a sense of malaise, reduced acuity, mental paralysis and lengthy argument over meaningless matters. But all humor aside, the Legislative Building is an important symbol for our state, and it doesn’t speak well of us when we allow it to be covered in slime.”
Other projects funded by the capital budget (SB 6095) include:
- $412,000 for the North Mason Teen Center, helping pay for renovation of the former North Mason School District headquarters building in Belfair. The project will add a commercial kitchen, upgrade technology, and pay for safety improvements. The center will be operated by the Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound.
- $376,000 to bring water and power to the Port of Allyn Marina.
- $288,000 for repairs to the Shelton Timberland Library.
- $742,000 to relocate the campground at Schafer State Park.
Meanwhile, the supplemental operating budget (SB 6032) approved by the Legislature Thursday provides money for a project advocated by Sheldon and Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle. The budget provides $125,000 to the Seattle Science Foundation to develop a comprehensive 3D spinal cord atlas, with the goal of providing doctors and researchers a digital map of the spinal cord to help them combat paralysis.
The Legislature’s supplemental transportation budget (SB 6106) provides a total $3.4 million for renovation of the State Patrol Academy at Shelton. Money will pay for replacement of the academy’s HVAC system, its “training tank,” which is used to teach water safety and vehicle extraction techniques, and its “skid pan,” essentially a parking lot filled with water that is used for driver training under inclement conditions.
The transportation budget also provides $800,000 for construction of a new roundabout for the city of Shelton, at 1st and Alder streets.
Another item contained in the Senate transportation budget has already been implemented. The $67 million Belfair Bypass, set to begin construction in 2019-21, has been renamed the SR3 Freight Corridor on the state transportation project list. Sheldon said the new name underscores the importance of Highway 3 to the state’s road network.
“The Belfair Bypass sounds like a medical procedure,” Sheldon said. “Calling it a freight corridor highlights the significance of the route from Shelton to Bremerton, and may make it easier to attract federal funding for further improvements.”