Vancouver approves $600K contract to build waterfront park

City can kill deal if state funding falls through

By Andrea Damewood, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: November 15, 2011, 10:09 AM

 

The Vancouver City Council agreed to a nearly $600,000 contract for design, construction documents and permitting the centerpiece park in the as-yet-undeveloped former Boise Cascade waterfront area — but with one key caveat.

State funds are so uncertain, Vancouver-based BergerABAM agreed to a clause that allows the city to kill the contract if a state earmark falls through. Funding for the $598,765 contract includes $250,000 from city park impact fees, with the rest expected to come from a $500,000 appropriation from the state.

But with drastic cuts certain at the state level, Vancouver can’t bank on that money coming through.

“Given the way state funding is right now, there’s always a chance we can lose the appropriation from the state,” Vancouver Parks Capital Programs Manager Elizabeth Jordan said.

Even if state money falls through, the work contractors are doing now, such as engineering, site analysis and geotechnical review, would remain property of the city and could be used whenever development money becomes available, Jordan said.

“That kind of work doesn’t expire,” she said.

Should everything go as planned, initial work on the 8-acre park, such as grading, pathways and seeding, could start in 2013, Jordan said. The city council approved the contract unanimously Monday without discussion.

The park will lie on the southern portion of the 32-acre former industrial site located just southwest of downtown. The area will include pedestrian and bicycle paths, connections to the waterfront and open spaces for wildlife viewing. It’s required in the city’s development agreement with Gramor Development of Tualatin, Ore., which plans to build at least 2,500 residential condos and apartments, 400,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of retail and office space. The waterfront development will also have a total of 10 acres of parks, trails and other open space.

A selection committee — which included one of the Gramor’s main investors, Barry Cain, along with other business and city interests — chose BergerABAM from a pool of applicants. The company has already begun design work and other preliminary steps on the park, Jordan said.

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542 or andrea.damewood@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reporterdamewood or www.twitter.com/col_cityhall