B.G. road projects ease growth-related congestion

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer


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Battle Ground

Population: 17,571.

Must see: Battle Ground Lake State Park, skate park, annual Harvest Days.

Website: http://www.cityofbg.org.


For more information on life in Clark County, visit www.columbian.com/portrait.

Battle Ground’s population has nearly doubled since 2000. This year, road projects that officials believe will ease some of the growth-related traffic congestion and spur business development will move forward.

Chief among them is the $4.8 million Southwest Scotton Way project that will create a new east-west corridor from Southwest 20th Avenue to the Lewisville Highway (Highway 503) that will reduce traffic on Main Street and Southwest Eaton Boulevard in Battle Ground, officials said. Officials estimated the Southwest Scotton Way project would create 700 jobs during its construction phase, expected to end this fall, and attract businesses that would bring hundreds more permanent jobs.

That’s good news for Battle Ground, whose growth has stagnated during the recession.

The city jumped from 9,300 people in 2000 to 17,571 in 2010, good enough for distinction as Clark County’s third-largest city.

Battle Ground’s growth has not merely been limited to population.

Battle Ground Village, a 21-acre mixed-use development at Southeast Rasmussen Boulevard and Southeast Commerce Avenue, started seeing businesses open in 2010. It already has more than two dozen, ranging from restaurants and coffee shops to a hair salon and clothing boutiques.

The Vancouver Clinic opened the doors on a new $12 million, 48,000-square-foot building in November 2010. The new clinic houses family practice, physical therapy and urgent care departments. It also offers internal medicine, ob-gyn, pediatrics and expanded imaging and lab suites.

More recently, the city annexed the Cedars on Salmon Creek, its first 18-hole golf course.

City officials are hoping to add the north branch of Clark College to the Battle Ground’s portfolio. Land has been approved to house the bureau, a positive sign, according to Battle Ground Mayor Mike Ciraulo.

In addition to Southwest Scotton Way, the city also hopes to break ground in November or December on a project to widen five miles of Highway 502 (also known as 219th Street) to four lanes. The project calls for the installation of a concrete median from the Interstate 5 interchange east toward Battle Ground. The project’s price tag is estimated at $88 million.

The I-5 interchange providing access to Battle Ground opened in October 2008. The increased traffic on the two-lane highway highlighted the need for the widening project to improve safety, according to WSDOT.

The city wrapped up a $1.7 million improvement project on North Parkway Avenue in 2010 and have moved forward with plans for $4 million to $5 million in improvements to of Grace Avenue, which could see construction this year.

In recent years, the city has also built a skate park, community center and library. The 25,000-square-foot skate park opened in 2007 and draws visitors from Portland to Seattle. A community event center joined the park in late 2008.

The multipurpose facility gives residents options for large indoor gatherings. The 12,000-square-foot center has a room with seating for about 260, commercial kitchen space and rooms to host smaller events. The center earned the city the Clark County Community Pride Design Award in 2009.

In October 2010, the city council approved the annexation of 98 acres southwest of the city. The eastern border of the previously unincorporated area is Northeast 112th Avenue; to the south is Northeast 199th Street. The annexation added 117 residents to city limits. More annexation opportunities could be in the works this year, although some residents of nearby unincorporated communities, such as Brush Prairie, have expressed a desire to retain their independence from the “big city.”