Post-demolition of four buildings, Auburn Parks, Arts & Rec to move on Les Gove Park work

Demolition of buildings for Les Gove Park expansion just about complete.

Big Daddy’s Drive In, Butt’s Tobacco, a temporary library, a vacant retail store and their respective parking lots off Auburn Way South are just about all gone, opening up space for the planned expansion of Les Gove Park.

“What you see here is basically the end product,” Assistant City Engineer Jacob Sweeting told City leaders about images passing on a screen.

That news came in the midst of an overall update Monday evening, given by Sweet and Ryan Vondrak, capital projects manager for the City of Auburn, on the status of capital projects now in process.

Auburn’s Community Development and Public Works group is managing 39 active projects with a total cost of $74 million, 22 of them in the design phase, 17 under construction, seven that should be advertised for bids and nine that should be finished in three months.

“Safe to say, our group has been very, very busy,” Sweeting said.

Back to Big Daddy’s, City Councilman Claude DeCorsi wanted to know about the fate of the drive-in portion of Big Daddy’s, to which Mayor Nancy Backus responded.

“That is going to stay, and there is going to be a new awning built there, and hopefully, those stations that were removed where people used to order from will go back,” Backus said. “There will be landscaping done in there, and the goal for that is to be a space for car shows, for food trucks, and it will be a gathering space similar to what it used to be.”

Backus noted that the City has saved parts of the old Big Daddy’s sign. “They’re not in great shape, but we are going to try to use them,” she said.

Also, the $9 million South 277th Street Corridor Capacity and Non-Motorized Trail Improvements project, which launched this summer, is on track to add 3,300 feet of intersection improvements and major roadway widening from Auburn Way North to L Street Northeast by late 2017 or early 2018.

At the moment the two future eastbound through-lanes are dirt, rock and earth moving equipment, but when everything wraps up they will be complemented by a new westbound through-lane, street lighting improvements, storm drainage improvements, streetscape improvements, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) improvements, intersection capacity and safety improvements, and auxiliary turn lanes at Auburn Way North and D Street Northeast.

The project will provide a turn lane for the future extension of I Street NE through the old Valley 6 Drive-In Theater site, now the Robertson Property Group’s holding, and complete a 10-foot wide, separated, non-motorized trail connection between the Interurban and Green River Trail systems.

The 277th Street project is funded by state and federal grants, private development and the City.