Nexus Youth and Families, formerly Auburn Youth Resources, last year had a $500,000 request in the state Legislature for capital improvements on its property to put a new HVAC system into its executive offices.
Meanwhile, just down Auburn Way South apace, the White River Valley Museum was waiting for a $497,000 state grant to turn a garage building into a second classroom, enabling museum educators to work with more field trip participants at one time, and for other grants to benefit Auburn’s Pioneer Cemetery.
But state lawmakers, by failing pass the capital budget, held up those and numerous other projects throughout the state.
Until last week, that is, when the state House of Representatives finally passed the final capital budget by a vote of 95-1 and the Senate passed it 49-0. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the 4.17 billion capital budget into law the next day to fund infrastructure projects throughout the state, such as school construction, low-income housing, mental health facilities, and natural resources protection.
Now, here in Auburn, Michael Jackson, development director for Nexus Youth and Families, looks forward to getting fresh air in and out of that part of the building, removing discomfort for staff and for young people.
“The space that we are in is old, antiquated, not user-friendly and a little bit depressing to our clients to have to come into rooms that we’re occupying and provide these services,” Jackson said.
Work won’t be immediate, Jackson cautioned, as Nexus has “tidying up to do,” and won’t be able to start drawing the money because it has planning yet to do to put the money to its best use.
“This is going to mean a lot to the agency and the clientele we serve,” Jackson said. “This means we are doing to do more effective services. …We’re very excited that the Democrats and Republicans got together and did something for the public,” Jackson said.
Nexus’ building opened in 1979 as a veterinary clinic, but now serves approximately 50 at-risk youth in South King County a week, with up to 15 youth using its emergency shelter. In addition to the inadequate ventilation system, staff hope to remove bars that are on the windows, and bring warmth to patient’s rooms with a fresh coat of paint.
And the museum is raring to go on both its fronts, said Director Patricia Cosgrove.
As for the Pioneer Cemetery, the museum has received a number of generous private donations. Individuals from the Hatfield, Ito, Kometani, Lee, Natsuhara, Nishimoto, Nishizaki, and Terada families have joined together to lead this fund raising campaign. Their donations, along with grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation will pay for the Hoshide/Wanzer Architects to create a construction ready landscape and interpretation plan for Pioneer Cemetery.
Below are grants awarded to the museum in the last three months:
• $497,000 Washington State Capital Heritage Program, for a new classroom and outdoor gathering area
• $11,855 from individuals supporting restoration of Auburn’s Pioneer Cemetery
• $4,500 National Trust for Historic Preservation, restoration of Pioneer Cemetery
• $2,000 Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, restoration of Pioneer Cemetery
• $1,500 City of Auburn Arts Commission, sponsor Hooked on History arts programming.
Other projects in the capital budget of import to Auburn and the surrounding area are:
• $763,000 for the Auburn Valley YMCA’s campus expansion project;
• $2.8 million to connect the Buckley and Enumclaw Foothills Trails, including a bike and pedestrian bridge over the White River;
• $7.75 million for new flood control and salmon restoration projects along the Puyallup, White and Carbon rivers;
The capital budget also provides matching funds to school districts that recently passed bond measures. These are the school construction projects in the 31st District that are slated to receive additional state funds over the next 18 months:
• $17.3 million to replace Olympic Middle School
• $9.3 million to replace and modernize Elk Ridge Elementary School in Buckley
• $5.4 million for a new elementary school in Tahaleh
• $2.6 million to replace the Carbanado school building
•$7.5 million to replace and to modernize Emerald Hills Elementary School in Bonney Lake
•$5.6 million to replace and to modernize Wilkeson Elementary School, and
$8.1 million to replace and to modernize Glacier Middle School in Buckley.