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Auburn completes land acquisition for Environmental Park

The City of Auburn completed its purchase of the 29-acre Auburn Land Company property located at 801 15th St. NW last month. In doing so, the City acquired the last remaining parcel needed to complete City ownership of the approximately 120-acre area identified for the Auburn Environmental Park (AEP) when the Auburn City Council declared its support for the AEP in 2004.

The City purchased the Auburn Land Company property, so named for the Nevada business partnership that has owned the property since 1972, for $629,800. The purchase is one of several AEP activities that are being accomplished as part of a project co-funded by the City and the State of Washington under a $572,000 Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program urban wildlife habitat grant awarded to the City by the state Recreation and Conservation Funding Board in 2007. The grant is administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.

“Acquiring these properties is something we have been working on for a long time”, said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. “By stretching the City’s dollars with the state grant, we’ve been able to complete that and now we can move forward to realize the tremendous potential of the environmental park concept.”

Other AEP projects scheduled to be completed during the next 12 months as part of the grant-funded project include the removal of invasive weeds and the planting of native trees and shrubs along portions of State Route 167 to improve habitat for birds and other wildlife. The native plantings will also eventually help to buffer the interior of the AEP from light and noise from the highway as the trees and shrubs mature.

In addition to the habitat improvements, several visitor amenities will also be constructed as part of the project, including interpretive signage, visitor rest areas, and an initial trail segment consisting of approximately 2,000 feet of elevated-boardwalk between West Main Street and the wildlife viewing platform constructed by the City at the AEP’s Western Avenue entrance in 2009.

For more information about the Auburn Environmental Park or the City of Auburn’s other environmental projects and programs, visit www.auburnwa.gov.

For more information about the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and its programs and services, visit www.rco.wa.gov.

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