Ceremony marks start of B.G. road project

$4.8 million effort expected to create hundreds of jobs

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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BATTLE GROUND — City officials broke ground on a $4.8 million road construction project Tuesday afternoon that is expected to relieve traffic congestion issues, create hundreds of new jobs and attract new businesses.

“Today marks the beginning of a whole new phase in the history of Battle Ground,” Mayor Mike Ciraulo said during a brief outdoor ceremony. “We are going to have new jobs, new roads, new construction, new opportunities.”

Paid for with money from a federal loan, the half-mile Southwest Scotton Way project will create a new east-west corridor extending from Southwest 20th Avenue to the Lewisville Highway (state Highway 503) that will reduce traffic pressure on Main Street and Southwest Eaton Boulevard in Battle Ground, officials said.

Scotton Way will feature travel lanes going in each direction, as well as a turning lane, bike lanes and sidewalks. There will also be new water, sewage and storm water drainage lines constructed for the project, officials said.

Tuesday’s ceremony took place in an area of the city-owned Remy Wetlands near Southwest 20th Avenue, where a piece of Scotton Way will be built.

Battle Ground received $4.2 million in recovery zone economic bonds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The city and the project’s developers, CJ Dens Land Co. and T.J. Fontenette of Mill Creek Partnership, will assume a nearly 50-50 split of the project’s costs, Ciraulo said.

However, Ciraulo stressed Scotton Way would not cost residents any money, nor would it take money away from the city’s budgetary fund.

The developers will handle upfront costs, and then when businesses start arriving, money from sales taxes assessed will pay back the 20-year federal loan, Ciraulo said.

“Without getting the funding, the city doesn’t have the revenue to complete the project,” City Manager John Williams added, referencing the federal loan.

Officials estimated the Scotton Way project would create 700 jobs during its construction phase, which is expected to end in fall 2012. Scotton Way is expected to attract businesses that will bring hundreds more permanent jobs.

A traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Scotton Way and Highway 503 (also called 10th Avenue), as soon as commercial development begins. A second traffic signal will be installed near Rasmussen Boulevard, east toward Battle Ground Village. That area, which will be developed by Mike Achen, will likely be retail and mixed use, Ciraulo said.

The road construction project was vital to Battle Ground’s long-term growth plan, the mayor added.

“For any municipality to be competitive in this environment,” he said, “it has to find creative ways for business growth and development.”

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; www.facebook.com/raylegend; www.twitter.com/col_smallcities; ray.legendre@columbian.com.